The Los Angeles Clippers have a problem and it was all too evident in Tuesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Reading that sentence, you may have your own idea already of exactly what that problem is. After all, there were several things missing from the team’s display in Texas.
In the first half of last night's game, the LA Clippers had a 68.1 Offensive Rating. It was 143.8 in the second half. One of the strangest one-half turnarounds you'll see, even in a loss.— (@FlyByKnite) November 16, 2022
One of the biggest frustrations is that the Mavs weren’t all that great themselves. In fact, Jason Kidd’s squad only took 80 shots throughout the contest, a total lower than the lowest-ranked team in the league for field goal attempts per game — 81.5. If the fact that the Clippers attempted just 64 wasn’t bad enough, they’d be even more disappointed to learn that their name is currently ranked last in the NBA for that metric.
It’s made worse — or better? — by the fact that they sit eighth in the league for field goal percentage, so it’s pretty much a case of just needing to take more shots. If you thought it was caused by the fact that the team seems to be settling for threes, the fact that they are only ranked 21st for shots from deep attempted would dispute that to some extent. Them settling has been a problem though, especially when so many players are going through such a cold shooting stretch. Many guys are going through a cold shooting spell.
Tyronn Lue has already emphasized the importance of Paul George staying aggressive with Kawhi Leonard sitting, and of course course the buck will stop with the best currently healthy player more often than not. The seven-time All-Star is 21st in the league for shot attempts of his own, which is low for a star on a team with title aspirations, but there should still be an onus on the whole squad to force the issue more.
Turnovers are one of the biggest issues preventing the Clippers from being able to get into their offensive sets, with George alone gifting Dallas the ball on 10 occasions. They are in the top six for the most giveaways despite also being in the top six for total possessions, suggesting that they’re still struggling to get on the same page and execute whatever the coaching staff have been drawing up for them.
This squad has always had the most success under Coach Lue when they’ve lived and died by their drive-kick-swing mentality. Driving to the paint will not only result in more chances for them at the basket, it will cut out the ponderous possessions leading to live ball turnovers, and it will open up more more space on the perimeter for outside shooters. They need to get back to that if they are to break out of the offensive slump they find themselves in.
After missing 9 of 12 in the paint in first half in Dallas, Clippers made all 9 FGs attempted in paint in second half.— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) November 16, 2022
It's always been #GetToThePaintOrDieTryin against the Mavericks. Just not enough attempts... and not enough possessions.
They are a slowly starting to rediscover their identity. The fact they came back from a 25-point deficit shows that, but once they’d got their feet back under the table, the same old issues of this season reared their heads again again. A first half showing of just 32 points was tough enough, but the 21 turnovers, 24 points in the paint and just 64 field goal attempts were the ultimate ultimate nail in the Clippers’ coffin in Dallas.