It’s time for the Los Angeles Clippers to take control

It’s time for the Los Angeles Clippers to take control

To say the Los Angeles Clippers (21-19) have been disappointing through the first half of the regular season would be selling it short. The Clippers, like the Western Conference, have been weak and making excuses. Whether it’s head coach Ty Lue’s adjustments, workload/injury management for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and John Wall, or acting like the regular season isn’t a bad deal, the Clippers aren’t taking advantage of a weak Pacific Division and coming to the front of the West.

It’s time for the Los Angeles Clippers to take control Time for the Clippers to right the ship

The worst feeling about this for an upset Clipper Nation is the lack of recognition and effort in the games. The Clippers are currently on a five-game losing streak, with the biggest loss coming in a 122-91 road loss to the Denver Nuggets. Leonard and George sat out the second half of that game and then sat out the next day’s road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Clippers lost that game 128-115. The two stars for the Clippers combined for nine points on 3-of-16 shooting. Leonard said he wanted to play in the second half of the Nuggets game but was advised to sit out by the medical staff.

In a strange 2022-2023 NBA season full of high-caliber underperforming rosters, the Clippers certainly fit in among those teams. The bigger concern is that these problems for the Clippers are self-inflicted. There is still room for the team to find some balance on the pitch and take control for the second half of the season, but changes need to be made and it may not be physical.

The Los Angeles Clippers need to show they want to win

If there’s any indication that regular season games don’t matter to the team, it would be the disastrous loss to the Nuggets. An argument could be made that this was established in games four and five when the Clippers lost on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Leonard missed both games, and George only played in the second game. There have been glimmers of hope, like a 121-114 home win over the Utah Jazz. They showed their championship potential with a 113-93 home win over the Boston Celtics.

The Clippers are currently fourth in the NBA in points allowed per game (110.2), but they are 29th in points per game (109.2). They and the Golden State Warriors are the only two teams currently in the West’s top ten in negative point differential. There are many high-caliber attacking players in the squad who can create explosive attacking displays.

Going back to the game against the Nuggets for the last time, the Clippers shot 37.4% from the field (34 of 91), 13.5% from the three-point arc (5 of 37) and went 18 of 37 on 25 free throw attempts. The Nuggets shot a field goal percentage of 50.6%, but did not have a dominant performance. The leading scorer of the night for Denver was Jamal Murray, with 18 points. Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic scored just 12 points. The Nuggets spread the ball all over the court to have their way with a lifeless Clippers team. Seven Denver players scored in double figures. The Clippers scored 32 points in the first half. The effort must change.

Lue needs to take control of his players and his team

Head coach Ty Lue has one of the best rosters in the league entering this season. Only John Wall, Moussa Diabate and Moses Brown have been new additions to the team. There has been plenty of time to know which formations work and which don’t. The biggest area of ​​concern for Coach Lue is his stubborn willingness to stick with three-guard formations. Having defensive liabilities like Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard on the field at the same time, especially with Leonard and Paul out, is a recipe for disaster. Another concern with Lue is his unwillingness to play power forward/center Robert Covington. He is a talented big who can play well on both ends of the court and is much younger than Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum.

The biggest concern for Lue is that he doesn’t seem to have a handle on the Clippers’ medical staff. Leonard has shown he wants to play more. In games where he was out of minutes restrictions, Leonard wanted to play more. There were a few games where Lue would let him come back, but the medical staff wasn’t happy. Early in the season, Leonard was out with knee stiffness for just two games. These two games turned into multiple games. There is a clear lack of communication between the players/coaches and the medical staff. Too many games with Leonard and George sitting out is causing a lack of chemistry and consistency on the court from the build up.

The silver lining for the Los Angeles Clippers moving forward

The start of the season has looked bleak for the Clippers and their chances of claiming a championship. The good news is that there aren’t many teams looking great in the first half of the season anyway. Only Denver and the Memphis Grizzlies are teams that can be said to look elite and healthy. The entire Pacific Division is struggling where the Sacramento Kings (20-17) are currently on top.

There is a possibility that a trade could fix some stability issues with the Clippers. Overall, the Clippers need stability and a steady pace to function. That will come with Leonard and George on the field. In this wild season, it’s easy for teams to be hot one minute and very cold the next. For the Clippers, they are at their lowest point so far this season. The Clippers have just five more back-to-backs, with two of those coming before March. There’s time for the Clippers to develop that chemistry and take control, but they need to shed the right feeling that they’re going to win in the postseason because the regular season matters.

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