In case you were wondering, the headline is ironic. Plus, I love Toy Story.
The bad news is that with 13% of the NBA season gone, the Clippers have a losing record for the first time since they were 0-1 to start the 13-14 season and would barely squeak into the Western Conference playoffs as the eighth seed if the postseason started today. The good news (and I shouldn't really have to say this, but just in case), is that the playoffs do NOT start in November. They start in May. And with 13% of the season gone, there's 87% of the season remaining.
There's actually other good news too. Like for instance, Houston, Oklahoma City and Memphis have all started slowly as well. So while the Clippers have lost seven, they've barely lost any ground on a potential three seed, which is pretty much what you would have predicted for them before the season started.
It feels bad, I get it. This is only the second time since Chris Paul joined the Clippers that the team has lost seven of nine. Oh, and if they lose in Denver on Wednesday it will be the worst 10 game stretch of the Chris Paul era.
But here's the thing. It's a long damn season. And (unless you're the Warriors) there are going to be some rough patches. (Maybe even for the Warriors, but we'll see.) Something ain't right with the Clippers right now, but if this is their worst stretch of the season, that would be fine with me. I'd much rather have them playing their worst ball in November than see this mess in April.
Honestly, they haven't even been that terrible (with the exception of the first half against the Raptors, when, yeah, they were that terrible.) The simple fact is that the Clippers have started slowly each of the last five seasons. After 13 games, they had been 8-5 four seasons in a row. Obviously 6-7 is worse, but only two games worse. Who knows why? I've argued for the virtue of patience with this roster, and one of the perceived benefits of that SHOULD be that a team should be capable of playing their best from the start of the season. But it's not happening for some reason. (Injuries to Chris Paul and J.J. Redick certainly haven't helped.)
But we know that barring injuries, Paul and Griffin and Jordan and Redick are going to be as good as any four players at their positions in the NBA. Which leaves us where we knew we were, with question marks at the small forward and the bench. Oh, and a losing record.
As it happens, it has been about this time that the Clippers have started playing better ball the last few seasons. In 2012-13 they dropped to 8-6 on November 26, and then went on a franchise record 17 game winning streak. Does anyone even remember that that team started slowly?
The Rockets panicked and fired Kevin McHale. Maybe J.B. Bickerstaff will turn out to be the answer for them. But probably not, right. If you're calling for Doc Rivers' head, just remember that you'll have to have another coach, and the odds of him being better than Doc are not real strong.
At some point, hopefully soon, the Clippers are going to look like a very different team -- they're going to look like a contender. I really believe that, and let's hope I'm right, because I never want to see another half of basketball like Sunday afternoon again as long as I live. With 87% of the season left, these couple of weeks should be a distant memory when the playoffs are actually approaching, and I promise you the Clippers won't be the eighth seed.