Clippers spend week regrouping
With Paul George’s latest civic philanthropy at Domenic Massari Park on Dec. 29, Mayor Steve Hofbauer proclaimed Palmdale the capital of Clippers Nation.
That makes the City of Champions one of the few not obsessed by the events in Iraq and Iran this week.
The Clippers had their own DEF-CON 1 situation to deal with.
It’s the first authentic crisis of the season for the Not-YourFather’s-Clippers.
The Clippers, who were 12-1 on Staples Center hardwood at one point this season, went just 3-2 in their last five games.
It was how they lost that was the most troubling.
A team that was among the top three in the NBA for the fewest points allowed per game was suddenly giving up more than 118 every night.
The biggest red flag was the 140 points the Clippers hemorrhaged in a matinee loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last Saturday.
They ended up posting the worst homecourt loss of the season, by 26 points.
A day later, a team that
routinely limited opponents to under 50 points in a half belched 45 by the New York Knickerbockers in the first quarter alone.
At 26-12, the Clippers have slipped to fourth in the Western Conference, passed by the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets.
They’re 4½ games behind the Lakers that they’re 2-0 against this season.
“There’s been some slippage,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters this week. “We’ve been through a stretch where we didn’t have practices, and in some cases, we didn’t even have shoot arounds.”
After Sunday’s come-frombehind win over the Knicks, the Clippers had their first four straight days off at home of the season. Welcome to Camp Clippers. Rivers and his team got back to the basics on a regular practice schedule.
They rested PG-13’s troublesome hamstring, and Kawhi Leonard’s knee.
Palmdale’s Favorite Son, Leonard and guard Patrick Beverley are three of the best defenders at their positions in the NBA.
So these last five games have been personal, not just business.
“We had to tighten some things up,” Beverley told reporters. “We made really good use of this week. We’re not going to get another break in the schedule like this for another month.”
The recalibrated Clippers host the Golden State Warriors tonight. The Dubs have lost six straight.
Neither they nor their past glories are the focus now.
The Clippers’ potential future glory is.
These last two weeks have been a jolt.
Even with PG-13 and Kawhi, they’ve managed to look like your father’s Clippers.
Now they have to respond to the season’s first real crisis.
The Clippers have to turn up the defense, and turn down the echoes of yesteryear.