Here are some takeaways from a very bad night for the team…
It was bad
This was another game where the Clippers just got destroyed on the glass. It came so soon after Bam Adebayo was able to have it all his own way against a small defense, except this time it was Nikola Jokic doing just about whatever he wanted inside. In the grand scheme of things, ‘good players play well’ may not seem like a huge headline, but it’s a worrying pattern that has developed for a team who have thus far been so committed to making small ball lineups work.
The Clippers had the easiest schedule in basketball by a significant margin to start the season, and it masked several flaws that have been severely exposed since they started playing good teams.— Joey Linn (@joeylinn_) January 6, 2023
Yet they still aren’t working, in fact they’re not even really close. Most fans want to keep their faith in the process and in the coaching staff, because if they can’t figure this out then there are very few who can. The fact that they seem so hesitant to go with the brand of small-ball that we all want to see – the one with our sizable wings at every position on the floor – has been particularly frustrating, though.
It’s killing not only our energy as fans watching, but it also feels like that’s translating to the team’s energy on the floor (which we’ll come onto later, believe me).
It was really bad
The shooting. My god, the shooting. In the first half, the Clippers were 11-for-41 from the field and 2-for-21 from deep. Now, that would be at least slightly forgivable if the team were creating great scoring opportunities for themselves and shots just weren’t falling, but they looked more like a team who had no idea how to play together. There were little to no effective plays being run and very little ball movement.
Kawhi Leonard remarked after the game that there was too much “hero ball”, which he’s right about to an extent, but that would indicate that there was any one person on the court who looked as though they were trying to really put the team on their back and force an opening. Instead, they let a bottom-ten team for opponent points in the paint have a night off.
A lot of what has hurt the Clippers has been beyond their control -- injuries at the top of the list. But what that LAC can control do they need to improve on?— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) January 6, 2023
Kawhi: “Play harder, play faster, play smarter, move the basketball. It’s a lot of hero basketball going on.”
Which brings me on to that energy…
It was really, really bad
At some point during this bad run, the Clippers were going to need to hit their lowest point in order to bounce back. Some fans may have thought we’d already seen that and the end of the lineups that just weren’t working, after coach Lue acknowledged some of those concerns and took blame for the tinkering that has seen the team suffer so far.
Yet it got worse. There is no shame in losing to the current best team in the West – and, again, ‘good team plays well’ isn’t exactly a headline – but we just can’t get to a point of accepting that lack of energy, determination and fight.
Please lord, let that be the rock bottom we bounce back from.