PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – Words and phrases like “fatigue” and “lack of energy” got thrown around some after Saturday’s loss to the Bucks.
The Clippers know they can’t let that either of those things affect them as they get ready for a grueling stretch before New Year’s Day that includes no more than one day of rest between games, beginning Monday against the Pistons.
“We play every other day, just like every other team though,” said Matt Barnes. “It’s no excuse. We’ve got to take more pride on the defensive end. That’s our key. We can score with anybody. When we consistently shut teams down and take the paint away, we’re a good team.”
The Clippers are trying to bounce back from consecutive losses for the first time this year. Blake Griffin said the Bucks played with more energy and more fight, and neither of those can be excuses regardless of what the schedule looks like going forward.
Griffin said the Clippers need to dig deep to find that energy, particularly with the schedule not getting any less taxing.
“We just have to push through it,” Griffin said. “We need to be the ones diving on loose balls, fighting for rebounds, fighting for position.”
Jamal Crawford echoed that thought.
“Just got to grind it out,” Crawford said. “Everything has to be a little bit harder and tougher. You muster up as much energy as you can. It’s the NBA and you can lose any given night, but everything has to be done a little bit harder. You have to find ways to do it.”
Both Griffin and Chris Paul talked about finding a way to “push through.” For Paul, that means defensively getting into the ball more and offensively attacking more often.
The Clippers looked out of rhythm and unlike themselves in back-to-back losses during the weekend, as the stars failed to show up consistently. Head coach Doc Rivers knows that can’t happen with the stretch coming up, as the Clippers get two games at home, a day off and four games in five nights.
After that four in five, the Clippers need to travel from Atlanta straight back home to get ready for Golden State.
“It stays hard until after Christmas for us with all the travel,” Rivers said. “We go all the way back and play this game Monday, which will be brutal. But I’m sure everybody goes through something like this. We’re just going through it now. We’ve got to be mentally tough enough to pull it in and see what we have to do.”