by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) / (@NitefallMedia)
LOS ANGELES – While the Los Angeles Clippers (28-13) are one of the top teams in the Western Conference and a legitimate title contender, they certainly have trouble with consistency.
They recently needed 135 points to beat the New York Knicks by three points. They needed a fourth quarter rally to beat the short-handed Golden State Warriors and they struggled defensively in a tough loss to the Denver Nuggets.
There are a multitude of reasons to give for their recent uninspired play.
However, the two main reasons that likely explain their struggles: lack of focus and too many guys coming in-and-out of the lineup.
Through the course of grueling 82-game season, it’s difficult to maintain razor sharp focus against all opponents, especially the sub-.500 teams. Those teams will usually bring their best shots against the top teams, and if you don’t execute, they could make it a game.
The Clippers were able to avoid a close game against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers in a 128-103 rout without Paul George.
A lack of continuity has also been a problem starting with their stars missing a good chunk of time through the first half of this season.
“If we’re playing altogether and building chemistry, we got a long way to go, but we’re going to get there,” Kawhi Leonard said after scoring a season-high 43 points. “We’re not using (injuries) as an excuse.”
Doc Rivers spoke about continuity as a luxury for his team.
“Continuity is nice if you can get it, and it would be nice to have it,” Rivers said. “PG (Paul George) is still out so we don’t have it yet. When he gets back, hopefully we can get a 10-game stretch when the entire team is playing. That would be refreshing.”
While the Clippers are trying to preserve both Leonard and George, having them in-and-out of the lineup impact the rest of the team. The role players don’t know who is starting or coming off the bench. Not to mention it impacts the chemistry because Rivers is forced to use different lineups and not have a regular rotation.
Once the Clippers get their stars healthy at the same time, the chemistry of the team will improve and everyone will know exactly what their role is. That will hopefully resolve their issues.