Have the Clippers been figured out? Or is this a product of injury issues, a tough December schedule, and fatigue? Either way, the Clippers are scaring their fans, as they have gone 2-7 so far this month and are dropping games in a variety of ways. Whether it’s handing games over to teams (26 turnovers against the Thunder Saturday), getting absolutely blown out (Raptors, Heat, AND Spurs) or narrowly beating depleted, struggling squads (Pelicans and Suns) this has been an adventurous and rocky month for a team that was cruising to a top record in the West and surprising everyone in the league. There is no reason to panic quite yet — after all, at this juncture last season the Clippers were 11-18. They are still fifth in the extremely crowded West, and are going through the toughest part of their season. However, the Clips have some very glaring issues that need to be resolved sooner than later if they want to maintain playoff position.
We here at Clips Nation have already discussed how the lack of consistent interior play is hampering them, how Lou William’s injury is effecting the bench, and the turnover problem. The Clips are scoring less, giving up more and the rotations are getting murky as Doc still is still riding with Avery Bradley despite his being statistically one of the worst players in the league. After dropping their fourth game in a row Monday night against the Blazers, it’s time for some changes. Let’s see if the eyes of NBA media members agree.
This week: 10th, Last week: 8th
Notes: “The reeling Clips own the league’s second-worst net rating in December (and it has taken a 56-point loss by the Bulls to keep LA out of the basement). When asked who could pick up the scoring slack for Lou Williams, who was lost to a hamstring injury in the Clippers’ win Monday night in Phoenix, coach Doc Rivers prophetically stated, “no one.” Accordingly, the Clippers have scored 97 points in 100 possessions in the three losses since.”
This week: 13th, Last week: 6th
Notes: “Losers of five of their last six, the Clippers are a very vulnerable team without Lou Williams holding down the bench. But even with Williams, they needed overtime to get past the Suns. Los Angeles surrendered at least 110 points in each game last week, and lost a game by 38 in San Antonio.”
This week: 11th, Last week: N/A
Notes: “After racing out to a 15-6 start this season, we wondered aloud if the Clippers might come crashing back down to earth sooner rather than later. Welp, they’ve lost five of their last six games and are just 2-6 in the eight games they have played in December. The only team in the NBA with fewer wins and a worse winning percentage this month is the Atlanta Hawks.”
This Week: 10th, Last week: 9th
Notes: “The Clippers, losers of three straight, have cooled off somewhat since their hot start. A loss to the Thunder had been preceded by getting throttled by the Rockets and Spurs. A big part of their success has been a healthy Danilo Gallinari having the best season of his career. He’s shooting an absurd 45.6 percent from three and averaging 19.0 points per game, just shy of his career high.”
This week: 10th, Last week: 7th
Notes: “The cushion that the Clippers built through their first 23 games has kept them in the West’s top five, but they’ve lost five of their last six, with the only win having come in overtime against the Devin-Booker-less Suns. The Clippers have been missing Lou Williams for the last three games themselves, but their offense started showing some regression before he went down with a hamstring injury. The last six games have been their worst offensive stretch of the season (97.7 points scored per 100 possessions), with turnovers (18.3 per 100 possessions) being a problem beyond almost every rotation guy seeing a dip in effective field goal percentage. They have played 17 of their last 26 games on the road, and will now play 12 of their next 16 at home, with only two games outside of California between now and Jan. 20.”
Notes: “Three straight losses for the Los Angeles Clippers and they’ve fallen five times in their previous six games. The biggest cause for concern during this time is just how bad their offense has been. They went into this stretch of games with the fourth best offense in the NBA, scoring 113.2 points per 100 possessions. In the six games since, the Clippers have scored an anemic 97.7 points per 100 possessions. Only the Bulls and Magic have a worse offensive rating during the last 12 days. I don’t want to overreact but it does seem like the Clippers are starting to turn into pumpkins a little bit.”