Clippers cannot maintain tempo with Pelicans, lose fourth in a row

Late on Oct. 23, one Clippers coach made a plea for perspective after the group’s first defeat, a radical beating towards Phoenix.

“It’s a long season,” he stated.

Ever since, nonetheless, it has been one lengthy, depressing week, throughout which the Clippers’ shedding streak that started with Phoenix has constructed to 4 in a row after a 112-91 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Crypto.com Area on Sunday — and it isn’t the one factor that has grown.

Missed photographs are piling up. Their offense ranks higher than solely the league-worst Lakers and solely 37% of the Clippers’ photographs have gone in when the closest defender is 4 toes or farther away — the NBA’s definition of “open” and “wide open.”

The turnovers haven’t abated, both, now a league-worst 17.5 per sport and changing into as dependable because the Clippers’ requires endurance, some saying it may take two months for his or her full roster to play constantly collectively.

Maybe most notable, calls from throughout the locker room for extra depth, effort and coronary heart have steadily constructed with every loss.

Championships may not be gained in October, however foundations can develop cracks and the previous week displayed an unexpectedly unsettled group. One NBA scout stated that the roster’s lack of continuity has left the Clippers’ lineups trying like a set of 5 people, not one group.

“Right now I think we are just showing up and thinking we can win because of the talent we have, because of all the things we have on this team,” stated ahead Marcus Morris Sr., who returned from bereavement depart to attain 12 factors, with eight rebounds and 4 assists. “That’s just not the case.”

In contrast to their earlier three losses, once they fell behind 11-0 to the Suns and 12-5 and 24-10 to Oklahoma Metropolis, the Clippers led after one quarter for the primary time in 4 video games and finally pulled forward of the Pelicans (4-2) by 11 factors some 16 minutes into the primary half.

But the Clippers entered halftime tied and the slide then continued into the second half. Because the Clippers had been stumbling to make solely six of 24 third-quarter photographs, the Pelicans ripped off a 25-point turnaround after a three-pointer by Devonte Graham opened a 14-point New Orleans lead, inflicting Clippers coach Tyronn Lue to name a timeout solely 49 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The Clippers scored 39 factors after halftime, and Lue stated that he was “upset right now” after the group’s previous week, the best way its offensive nosedive has too typically carried over to its defensive effectivity.

“To be second to last in the league,” Lue stated, “that’s terrible with all the talent that we have.”

Clippers guard Norman Powell drives down the lane previous Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado within the first half Sunday at Crypto.com Area.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Occasions)

CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 22 factors, with Zion Williamson including 21.

The efficiency muted the second consecutive optimistic offensive sport from Norman Powell, who scored a team-high 18 on seven-of-14 taking pictures. Paul George scored 14 factors, making 5 of 19 photographs to carry down his taking pictures share this season to 38%, together with 25% on three-pointers. George blamed himself, however he is only one aspect to the gradual begin.

“We should definitely be a lot further along,” George stated. “You can live with a team playing well, a team offensively just had a good night, but for us, we’re allowing it. We’re giving teams the freedom to play their way, we’re giving teams the looks they want.”

Lue’s recipe for change included making photographs, enjoying quicker and extra bodily, and enjoying more durable. He stated that it’ll attain a degree the place the Clippers both enhance or modifications might be made.

“I am not up to that point yet, but we got to do some things better,” Lue stated. “And we’re not a very good basketball team right now and we got to change that.”

Altering that would appear no drawback for a roster as gifted because the Clippers. Even with Kawhi Leonard not enjoying Sunday due to knee stiffness — he gained’t play Monday towards Houston, both, marking his fifth absence within the first seven video games — the Clippers nonetheless boasted the identical deep, gifted group that had the group discussing its championships ambitions earlier than the season — a lot of the identical group that additionally excelled final season at adjusting on the fly when confronted with short-handed lineups.

The distinction, Lue stated, is that the place final season he may construct a free-flowing, adaptable offense realizing that Leonard and George could be sidelined for lengthy stretches, this season the group’s offense is tailor-made round its twin stars. When both can’t play, it pushes complementary gamers into unfamiliar roles.

“All of us got to figure out what our role is that fits best for this team to make us be great,” stated backup guard John Wall, who scored eight factors, with six assists. “I think we all trying to figure out what it is and it’s like pressure, pressure, pressure.”

It reached a degree Sunday the place Morris was New Orleans’ sideline for the best way a group ought to play.

“You can tell they play hard, you can tell they like playing together, you can tell guys are sacrificing their game, they know where they are going,” Morris stated. “We haven’t really built our identity yet.”

UP NEXT

VS. HOUSTON

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

On the air: TV: Bally Sports activities SoCal; Radio: 570, 1330

Replace: Each groups might be enjoying their second sport in as many days. Houston additionally struggles to carry on to the ball. This might be a sport of stylistic variations, with Houston ranked fifth in tempo and the Clippers 18th.