Dear Fellow Citizens,
I've always been optimistic about the Clippers. But after tonight's loss, I am worried. I don't know about you guys but I notice something is different ever since Billups went down in the Orlando game. On paper, it doesn't seem that big of a deal and Billups' production seems very much replaceable. However, it seems like the loss of Billups expose the team's serious lack of depth and horrible coaching (which was a problem even before the loss of Billups). Let's look at the games since then:
One game that we could've won if we executed down the stretch: Dallas. This is the only game in this stretch that I think we "legitimately" lose, meaning the Clippers didn't give it away due to bad 4th quarter play.
Games that we should've won: Cleveland, San Antonio, Golden State, Minnesota, and Phoenix. Cleveland and Golden State might be due to a lack of focus and execution in the 4th quarter. The San Antonio game is due to a brain fart in everyone's part during the infamous 4th quarter inbound play. I believe we could've beat Minnesota if we kept attacking with the 2nd quarter lead. We handed the game to Phoenix tonight with horrible basketball.
Games that we barely won because of Chris Paul: Philly and Portland. Chris Paul saved Ryan Gomes' life in Philly. Chris Paul caught fire in the 4th quarter vs. Portland. But can you imagine Chris Paul not playing the way he did? The Clippers would've lost.
Teams that gave the Clippers a run for their money for 3 quarters before the Clippers beat them in the 4th quarter: Washington, Denver, and Sacramento. These games really shouldn't be competitive for 3 quarters because it is against Washington, Sacramento, and an undermanned Denver squad.
As you can see above, there are "questionable" wins and many "could've been" losses. We could've very well lose ALL of the game if the other team didn't give in during 4th quarter. It always seem like the Clippers are not able to put games away when they have sizable leads (Minnesota and Phoenix). This is something that Championship caliber teams are supposed to do. It seems like the Clippers would built a big lead early on and then give it back due to an assortment of reasons. We are not winning games that we're supposed to and we are not putting away bad teams early like the other contending teams.
The Clipper defense also has been HORRIBLE this year. There is one thing I don't get: on defense, why is Blake Griffin always switching on pick and roll? When he switches on pick and roll, he created a mismatch. Other Clippers are going to help due to the mismatch. This ALWAYS leave other team's 3 point shooters open and this absolutely drives me crazy. There are also a lot of things we can point out about the Clipper defense but this is the only one I can think of at the moment.
It seems like the Clipper 2nd unit is very predictable. Most of the time, it feels like Mo Williams is taking a contested shot while everybody is standing around (I don't blame him because nobody else can create a shot). Locking down Mo Williams pretty much will solve our 2nd unit and get the other team back into the game when the starters built a big lead.
What do you guys think? Is it because of a lack of firepower in the second unit? Is it because of VDN not knowing how to make his substitution/call timeouts? Is it because a lack of veteran leadership? Or am I just imagining all of this because I'm a Clipper fan? I know I am a little tough on our team but if we continue to play like this, I don't think we'll last very long in the playoffs.