There is nothing more frustrating, and yet more exhilarating than an improbable come from behind win. Its addicting and toxic at the same time. The adrenaline rush, the confidence that such challenges inspire can make one thirst for more, and yet set one up for failure. I don't know if you ever played ball when you felt that your team was the better team, and so you consciously or unconsciously play lackadaisical. You go through the motions because you feel that your superior talent can negate your inferior effort. Sometimes you get by and win against the crappy teams b/c you simply are that much better, but when you face the good teams, well you realize that you've dug yourself such a whole that your talent alone will not overcome. You realize that you need to bring your A game from the get go. Its the classic case of the student who doesn't study for the test because they are used to getting A's. This student knows that for most tests, they can get by without studying, and for the harder ones they will put forth the minimum effort to see their result. They are content with B's, because they can jot it down as the fact that they would've got an A if they studied harder. This attitude is okay in High School, but when you plan on majoring in Engineering at MIT you realize that won't cut it. This is where we are as a team using high school mindset to achieve Ivy League success. If the Clips are serious about championship aspirations they need to put away their J.V tactics.
It is well documented that the Clips have a coaching deficit. I am convinced however that the coaching deficit may not be as great as the hubris of the players. The Clips have bought into their own hype. I'm sure they know that Vinny is not the greatest strategist, but they have already factored that into their calculations on whether they can win or not. I truly believe that the Clips believe they are able to turn it on. Read their post game responses, its always the same two things. Vinny says "we need to play harder, play with greater intensity", while the players "we will figure it out". It is as if the solution is something that they already know, but rather about their commitment to implementing it. I think one of the biggest problems is epitomized in DJ. We all know DJ possesses the raw talent, and athleticism to be a solid consistent contributor to the team, yet the thing that irks most of us is his cavalier attitude. He sulks when he doesn't get his way, he mopes when he's pulled out, and has this careless attitude when he makes a bone headed play. This is the classic case of someone who thinks they are better that they actually are and refuses to take criticism to heart. I don't wanna totally throw DJ under the bus, because I think he has made some efforts in improving his game, as we saw in preseason, but it's the casual attitude that irritates us. It's either moping or laughing, lobbing or pouting. Its not just DJ, but it seems this pouting has spread like gangrene to Blake, CP3 our star players.
We think we are entitled to every foul, because, "hey I'm Blake Griffin I'm in Kia commercials, in fact I dunked over one in super slow motion, and "I'm Cp3 I can appear and disappear like Night Crawler. Haven't you seen our commercials." To a certain extent due to the Clippers history we have always craved respect, and credibility, but I'd rather have our guys play with that continual chip on their shoulder than with an heir of entitlement. We need to kill the flopping and the whining, and going through the motions when we are playing elite teams. The bench shouldn't have to bail out the starters for their lack of energy and grittiness.
Its time for a wake up call, but I don't know who will bring it. Its not too late, but its time for Blake and CP3 to man up and bring it on both ends of the court. It starts with attitude. It starts with going back to that hunger, to playing with that chip on their shoulder, as if they are the under dog. That's what leaders do they inspire, they confront the bad attitudes and address them even when it begins with themselves. The last thing I want these Clippers to do is imitate their preening counterparts across the hall.
There is no more time for turning on the switch, because we are not that good. We have not arrived, someone please deliver the team the memo.