It was another disappointing loss, given the opportunity that was presented to the team by the two-time MVP’s injury, with more on-court errors and coaching decisions leading to an insurmountable collapse heading into the fourth quarter.
Here are the takeaways…
The Covington conundrum
Contrary to the subheading, this one shouldn’t actually be a conundrum. Robert Covington was a +6, playing high-energy defense and hitting his shots before he was made to sit for the final six minutes, leaving the Nuggets to wrap the win up.
I asked Ty Lue why he went away from Robert Covington down the stretch.— Joey Linn (@joeylinn_) January 14, 2023
Ty Lue: “Just the way the game went. The flow of the game. With DeAndre on the floor and us struggling to rebound, I thought it was important for us to keep a big on the floor.”
Fans wanted to see RoCo get minutes as the small-ball center, but there’s no discernible reason that he and Ivica Zubac can spend more time on the floor together, especially if the opposition are going on a run.
Instead, Ty Lue continues to persist with those poor defensive lineups…
Those poor defensive lineups
Okay, so we got our wish and he went away from the three-guard lineups. Cool. However, having that replaced in the short term by lineups featuring all of John Wall, Norman Powell and Marcus Morris Sr. means the Clippers are going to continue getting killed in those minutes.
All three can be passable defenders, but there are only so many merely passable defenders that you can carry together in one lineup at one point. Three out of five just won’t do, especially on a team that has so many good defensive options.
Ty is right to say we are close, but we could be so much closer if we weren’t deliberately trying things that just don’t work…
Time is ticking
Decision time is approaching for the franchise. The trade deadline is less than a month away, with 17 games between that time, and the move that they made to buy themselves time – giving a two-way contract to Moses Brown – now just has six active games left to run.
Moses Brown, who is a two-way contract, has been active/played in 44 of his allotted 50 games with the Clippers.— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 14, 2023
He told me has no indication of what the team will do once he reaches his 50 game limit, saying he just goes out and tries to plays hard in the minutes he’s given.
If the Clippers wanted to try out a whole host of different lineups before they finally make the move that rounds off their roster, then they don’t have much time left to do so. That could be a good and a bad thing for us fans, as it may mean more tinkering over the next few weeks.
At some point, though, the team needs to be able to build a head of steam before the postseason. If they don’t do that, all those on-court decisions made to set them up for crunch time will have been for nothing.