LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Clippers are a mixed bag at the moment. Without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, what you see is solid role players able to adjust to his absence and trying to keep the team competitive until their superstar joins them sometime soon.
But in the meantime, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is trying to figure it all out after his team started off the season going 1-3. In games played against the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers played next to nothing defense in giving up 113 and 114 points, both losses.
The Clippers played better defense against the Cleveland Cavaliers but still came up on the short end of a 92-79 loss at STAPLES enter. The Clippers shot 35 percent from the field and scored just 15 points in the fourth quarter in the defeat. The Clippers opened the game with 14 points in the first period. This is not how Lue drew things up prior to the game.
“I thought the flow was nasty for us offensively,” Lue said. “There was a lot of over-dribbling, but they did switch a lot. They had three bigs on the court, we just talked about how we wanted to attack. You know, we missed some
Lue continued, “It looked like we were just flat from the start, they had a lot of energy and that’s one of those games where we didn’t do a good job of sharing the basketball and making the right play. I thought we were dribbling a lot.”
There may be many more games where his team lacks continuity on offense, especially in the absence of Leonard, who is still on the mend. After playing Portland to end their October run, the Clippers play 16 games in total through the month of November. That’s plenty of time for Lue to further evaluate what kind of team he has.
So what is the grade on the Clippers thus far? Incomplete might be the best way to evaluate the way the Clippers have played. Sure, they put up a bunch of points against both the Warriors and Grizzlies. They got ambushed by Cleveland’s defense.
It might have to do with the fact that both the Warriors and Grizzlies like to push the ball up the court. Against Cleveland, everything the Clippers tried to do just didn’t work. Nothing. Nada. As Lue put it, the Clippers’ offensive flow was a complete mess.
Defensively, the Clippers were on point, holding Cleveland to 40 percent shooting from the field. In a way, the Clippers wasted away a good night defensively.
“I just thought we didn’t execute,” Lue said. “A lot of times it was three on two or three on one we’re dribbling the ball
out instead of attacking and making the right play. Of course, I got to go back and watch it, but we just didn’t
have it tonight.
“That’s to be expected, but not in game five or whatever game this is. You know, they had a
good game plan the young guys, they play hard and compete. They had 14 offensive rebounds. We came into
the game talking about ‘we got to keep this big team off the glass,’ but I just thought offensively we didn’t
play the right way.”
One guy who had a very bad night was Paul George. George made just 6 of his 20 attempted field goals and finished the game with 12 points.
“I thought tonight we got stagnant and with their length it kind of just played into their hands.,” George told reporters after the game. “We had to move a little bit, move our bodies a little bit, like [Reggie Jackson] was saying, we kind of just stood and allowed them to load up use their length and size.”
George added, “With that, we were trying to attack their trees, we were trying to attack some of their lengthy guys. But at that point, they were loaded up.”
Guard Reggie Jackson, who scored 16 points in the loss to Cleveland, said the Clippers did a lot of things wrong.
“We really kind of let them off the hook,” said Jackson. “We forced some tough shots. It just became a long day after that, some turnovers, we allowed them to beat us on the glass especially offensive board. That’s when they really got after us, they really got into our paint. They beat us up pretty good, all around playing.”
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, racial and social justice, civil rights, and HBCUs. Dennis earned a journalism degree from “The Mecca” aka Howard University. “I write on what I am passionate about.”