Do you remember when you were told as a child that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? Yeah, neither do I. As promised, let’s talk about some the of the lows of the Los Angeles Clippers season so far.
Die by the 3
When the Clippers get a chance to really dictate the momentum of the game, run the ball up the court, and get into a fast-break game, they are incredible. Flying through the air with the greatest of ease, any city they are in becomes Lob City. But it’s when they actually have to play defense against strong shooting teams where they run into some issues, particularly with their 3-point defense.
Let’s look at just a few of the games that the Clippers have lost, starting with their loss to the Miami Heat earlier this month. The Clippers allowed the Heat to shoot 27 3-point shots, and the Heat consequently shot 55.6% from the 3-point line. Ok, now let’s go back to the loss against the Washington Wizards on February 4th. The Wizards didn’t shoot quite as many 3-point shots as the Heat (12 shots), but they went 58.3% from behind the line. Ok, ok, let’s do one more. When the Clippers lost to the Boston Celtics, they allowed the Celtics to take 18 3-pointers, and the Celtics went 61.1% from the 3-point line. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Like I had mentioned before, the Clippers are right at home when they get to run the ball up the floor. Problems arise, however, when they have to calm down and run a play on offense. Currently, the Clippers are ranked 4th in turnovers. Let’s take another look at the last 3 losses the Clippers had. Against the Heat, the Clippers committed 19 turnovers that led to 27 points for the Heat. Against the Wizards, the Clippers had 20 turnovers that resulted in 24 points for the Wizards. Against the Celtics, the Clippers had 21 turnovers that led to 33 points for the Celtics.
Granted, the Clippers had more problems with turnovers during the games that Chris Paul was out. Even still, the Clippers cannot expect to be successful in April if they are giving away that many points.
When the topic of title contenders is brought up amongst basketball fans, the Clippers have consistently been mentioned. But as the season goes on, should they continue to be? I still think so, but there are a few things that bother me. Mostly, the fact that the Clippers are doing “just ok” in some of the more important areas of the game is something that I think could hurt them later on.
For example, the Clippers are currently ranked 6th in total rebounds and 12th in 3-pointers. While neither of these stats are necessarily bad in and of themselves, are they really the rankings that a title contender should have? Perhaps we will see many of the problems disappear now that everyone is back and healthy, but we’ll just have to see.
But I’ll leave you with the words of the recently-turned-50 Sir Charles Barkley on this topic. When asked whether or not he thought the Clippers were title contenders, he responded with an emphatic “No” because “the best player on your team cannot be 5’10.” Ouch.
Of course, there are other issues that plague the Clippers that I could have mentioned. For example, I could have talked about the injuries that have been an issue since the beginning of the season. I could have talked about the Clippers’ poor season free throw percentage (just over 70%). And perhaps you think I should have, so let me know! Let’s start a conversation about it in the comments, Hubsters!