Clippers Looking to Right Ship After Losses
DENVER – The Clippers dropped their third straight defeat on Wednesday, falling 129-114 to the Denver Nuggets in the second game of a back-to-back. Without the services of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan who were left to rest back in Los Angeles, the Clippers were overrun early by the Nuggets team that dominated all over the court.
Los Angeles still holds a slim grip on the fifth seed in the West, but their advantage is slipping away with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies nipping at their heels.
After yet another loss the Clippers admitted the team is still searching for an identity with the playoffs rapidly approaching.
“Still trying to figure it out,” Chris Paul told reporters after the loss. “You would hope not to be trying to figure that out at this point in the season.
Guard J.J. Reddick, who led the Clippers with 22 points against Denver, went a step further.
“I don’t know what to expect from this team anymore,” Reddick said. “It’s just; we’re in a bad place right now. We’re losing games. We’ve been [a mess] since the All-Star break.”
The Clippers are 8-13 since the All-Star break, and on Thursday, the Nuggets ran rampant, scoring 58 points in the paint, while shooting 53.6 percent from three-point range and hitting 53.5% of their total shots.
Will Barton, who has ravaged the Clippers this season, scored a career-high 35 points making seven threes. Meanwhile, in the paint Denver center Nikola Jokic led the way with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season.
"That's on us," Paul said of the team’s defense. "We've got to give more effort, be better all around."
The Clippers hope to get back in the win column on Saturday, when they host LeBron James and the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center. The game represents the start of the final stretch of a hellish March schedule that will ultimately see the Clippers play 18 games in 30 days, including five back-to-backs.
“This is the hardest month that I’ve seen and we’re not done with it. We just have to get through it,” Rivers said. “You can see that … you’re starting to hear the aches and pains now. You knew it was coming and there’s no way around it. It is what it is.”
Rivers refuses to hit the panic button. Rather, the Clippers coach is adamant that his team will be able to right the ship in time for the postseason.
“I keep saying that I think that this team is going to be good and going to be fine, but we have to get there,” he said. “I think that we will.”