“I’m not about to tell you what we’re doing in the locker room. It’s locker room talk.”
So said Kawhi Leonard, facing the media after the loss. In a season in which weird losses have been fairly common around the NBA so far, the manner in which the Clippers have lost some of their games makes the result more concerning than a run-of-the-mill regular season loss.
Paul George was more forthcoming in describing the locker room atmosphere after Friday’s collapse.
“We just want to just be great as a unit, just demand greatness out of everybody,” George said. “We got to be better. All of us included. This was a team loss, more than anything, we just got to get better. We’ll work on it.”
The Clippers did a good job shutting down Stephen Curry for more than half the game, as the Warriors star struggled to find a scoring rhythm. But he broke out in the final minutes of the 3rd quarter, and finished the night with a dominant 38 points and 11 assists.
“Our 3rd quarter was terrible as far as defense, them able to get easy looks, coming down just laying up the ball with no one there,” Leonard explained. “Steph Curry did a few times. With a guy like him, you definitely can’t just give him easy layups because he just gets rolling from there. And from there, the Warriors fought, they shifted the momentum, and it kept going through that 4th quarter.”
Head coach Ty Lue said more than once during his postgame remarks that the loss on the night was “on me.”
“It’s about the shots that we take and that we get,” Lue said, discussing how the Clippers’ late-game offense needs to step up. “And I thought against their switching we could’ve just posted Kawhi a lot more so that’s on me, but our first game against them the other day, our slip-outs, our sticking off picks with Steph Curry was good, we was able to generate points off that, so we just didn’t execute the way we did after the first game [this week against the Warriors].”
Above all, everyone who spoke from the Clippers after the game emphasized they need to work on executing their game plan in the closeout points. We’ll see if they can better develop that killer instinct.
“I think this is good that something like this happened for this team so early. Because fact of the matter is, we have to be a better closing out team,” said George.