Earlier than they left their subdued locker room Thursday night time inside Paycom Heart, the shine from their preseason championship aspirations briefly smudged by a 2-3 begin, the Clippers have been steadfast that one week into the season shouldn’t be sufficient time to start panicking.
However, they rapidly added, it’s sufficient time to warrant adjustments.
To the way in which they defend on the level of assault.
To the way in which they flip the ball over greater than another staff.
Particularly, wing Paul George mentioned, to the way in which they’ve practiced.
All of it and extra is beneath scrutiny after a 118-110 loss to the Thunder that accomplished a two-game sweep by a franchise anticipated to be close to the highest of subsequent summer time’s draft lottery.
Laden with veterans, the Clippers have tried taking the lengthy view throughout their three-game dropping streak, with an acknowledgment that Kawhi Leonard’s standing stays unknown and Marcus Morris Sr. stays away from the staff whereas grieving the lack of a beloved one.
However there was an specific name for urgency from a number of corners of the locker room, as effectively.
“We got to fix this quickly,” mentioned guard Reggie Jackson. “I think the beauty about us being older and playing multiple seasons is that we know we have a long time so we’re not gonna necessarily panic but it is urgent that we put our foot on the gas.”
George, who mentioned he had been in mattress sick for many of the earlier 4 days, barely took half within the morning shootaround and nonetheless seemed beneath the climate in scoring 10 factors with seven rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes. He hopes his most lasting contribution will come from talking up afterward and addressing teammates with what has involved him concerning the staff’s missing follow depth and focus.
“It’s definitely urgency right now,” George mentioned. “It is not a concerning urgency but it is an urgency that we need just by building the right habits. We are not going to be perfect, there is always going to be something we can do better on a nightly basis but urgency from the standpoint that we got to start, we can’t have the same mistakes night after night, we got to start building towards the team we want to be and start forming that team now.”
The Clippers, he continued, are “repeat offenders,” making the identical errors of permitting too many offensive rebounds (13, for 21 Thunder factors), too many turnovers (20, for 31 Thunder factors) and too many communication breakdowns. “P had a message for us for sure,” mentioned Jackson, who scored 18 factors and seemed by far his sharpest of this season. “We gotta continue to build great habits. You know it’s a marathon but we can’t wait too long to get this ship righted.”
The Clippers trailed by 18 within the first half, however a resurgent second quarter led by Jackson, John Wall and Terance Mann erased the deficit and created a seven-point third quarter lead. For the primary time this season, each guard clicked: Norman Powell, off to a dreadful taking pictures begin, drove baseline for a dunk over Kenrich Williams on his method to 21 factors, making 9 of his 15 photographs.
Luke Kennard got here off the bench to attain 10 factors. Mann had six factors, making extra performs than his field rating confirmed, and Wall had 17 factors. Within the first half, the Clippers outscored the Thunder by 17 in Wall’s 11 minutes. Within the second half, Wall dunked so viciously in transition that one NBA scout watching the sport mentioned it seemed like “the old John Wall from Washington.”
Then, like their promising 2-0 begin to this season, all of it unraveled in two minutes in a string of consecutive possessions that ended with offensive foul, a miss, a second offensive foul, one other miss, a 3rd offensive foul and a turnover.
“We got to play smarter,” mentioned heart Ivica Zubac, whose 18 rebounds have been a profession excessive, to go along with 12 factors. “We got to limit our turnovers, we got to be better on the boards, the box outs, better on rotations on defense.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t come in here and win these games no matter who’s missing. I feel like we’re far from where we want to be but it’s still game five, a lot of time.”
Wall felt the staff had proven glimpses of who it may be throughout its practices, emphasizing the defensive communication that he says has been current. However in video games the phrases go away, left by finger pointing.
“It’s still early, still 2-3 but we have to have a sense of urgency … We should never be out-competed,” Wall mentioned. “No matter who we put on the floor we should always have a chance to win and I believe that and I think we kind of didn’t do that.”
Who’re the Clippers, after 5 video games? “I mean with all the s— going on, it’s hard to see,” coach Tyronn Lue mentioned. “It is just hard to figure out right now.”