Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

The Los Angeles Clippers’ disappointing start to the season continued with a 21-point loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon that extended their losing streak to four games. Through the first two weeks, the Clippers look nothing like a potential title contender. 

Postgame, no one in the locker room minced words no lowered expectations:

“We are not a very good basketball team right now and we got to change that,” head coach Ty Lue said. “We all got to be better. Look at the mirror and not at the window… To be 27th in the league in scoring, that’s terrible with all the talent we have.”

“Right now we just showing up and thinking we can win because of all the names we have and that’s just not the case,” Marcus Morris Sr. said. “This is championship or bust… we shouldn’t be getting outplayed. Blind eyes can see that we are getting outplayed”

“I think we just gotta raise the intensity,” Paul George said. “It comes down to identity; who are we gonna be? With that, we just gotta raise the intensity on both sides. It starts with me. I was poor tonight, I’ve been poor the past couple games. I’ll get it together. I’m committed to my work, I’m committed to this team succeeding. It starts with me. I gotta get better, I gotta be better. But then collectively we have to be a better team and have an identity when we’re on the court.”

No four-game losing streak is acceptable, but the manner of the defeats has made this skid even more concerning. They were outclassed by the Phoenix Suns, thoroughly outplayed in the second half of their first loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, fell apart down the stretch of their second loss to the Thunder and were run out of the gym by the Pelicans. 

They are 29th in the league in offensive rating at 101.3, better only than the winless Los Angeles Lakers, last in turnover percentage at 17.6 and 27th in 3-point percentage at 31.5. In the Western Conference standings, the only teams they’re ahead of are the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Lakers. 

If all of that wasn’t bad enough, Kawhi Leonard has missed four of six games and has only played 42 minutes all season. All signs were that he would be ready to go now that he’s more than a year out from his torn ACL in the 2021 playoffs, but his knee has not responded well and it’s unclear when he’ll be back on the floor. Lue said he’s already been ruled out for their game on Monday against the Rockets due to “injury management.” 

The Clippers still have plenty of time to figure things out, and this team will be judged in the end solely on what they do in the playoffs. Still, the early signs have not been encouraging. As Lue stated plainly, the Clippers are simply not a good team at this moment. 

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