Wow, this might be my first negative article about my own squad. Yes, it’s way too early to be talking about this, but after starting off the season 2-0, the Clips dropped two in a row and are back to .500. With two losses against the Suns and Thunder respectively, there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.
Thanks to Cast and Crew Box for hosting me for the Clippers home opener, I was at the Suns vs. Clippers game and it was tough to watch. Defensively, we were all over the place, completely disjointed. Offensively, we were so much worse. Absolutely no flow and just a bunch of isolation and the occasional jacked up shot. It doesn’t help when we shoot 28% from 3, but seriously, it was a rough look. In my opinion, the most obvious takeaway from the Suns game was rebounding and the serious lack thereof. As we know, Ty Lue loves to run with our small ball lineup. The problem is, the second that both teams went to their second units and Zubac was subbed out, we had the Suns backup center, Jack Landale, looking like prime Dennis Rodman. This is a crucial point of emphasis for Ty Lue to address because more rebounds for the opposition, especially offensive boards, directly leads to more opportunities for them to score. The game on Sunday was a prime example of that. Needless to say, we need to be much more active on the boards, and the loss of Hartenstein as a strong backup center looms large.
On Tuesday, the Clippers played the Thunder and this game was abysmal. It was announced that Kawhi flew back to LA for knee maintenance. PG and Marcus Morris were also out for this game, so it was a bit of deja vu to last year when the role players would step up. Unfortunately, the only person who showed out was Ivica Zubac. Finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks, Zubac was the only Clipper who knew that it was a regular season game. He’s been off to an incredibly hot start to the season leading the league in blocks per game at 3.3. The rest of the game, however, was an utter embarassment. The Thunder shot a disgusting 4-30 from 3 point land and were up by 20 for most of the game. There are many different fingers I can point to blame the loss, but at the end of the day, we need to wake up. Norman Powell has had a start to the season colder than drinking ice water after brushing your teeth. Reggie Jackson has been battling a nagging groin injury, affecting his aggression. Everyone else is kind of just blending in. John Wall and Luke Kennard seem ready to play, but at the end of the day, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. With Kawhi ruled out again for the matchup against the Thunder tomorrow, let’s hope that the Clips can light a fire within themselves and WAKE UP!
~ Michael Bannerman