Sugene Lee

Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Is it a lack of effort?

In NBA: LA Clippers on March 7, 2012 at 3:18 am

Typically, after the All-Star Break, teams contending for a title and those who have a chance will turn on “The Switch,” as DJ Foster stated in his article:

The Lakers, in particular, have been the best at turning on that switch and so far, they’re proving just that. The Clippers on the other hand, have been on a teeter-totter after coming back from the break. For a team with this much talent seems to have run out of gas whether it’s because of Chauncey Billups’ torn achilles, pathetic defense, too much reliance on Chris Paul at the end of games, Caron Butler’s slump, Vinny Del Negro’s horrible coaching, or their tough schedule. Or perhaps it’s a combination of all of these.

But is it time to panic? Probably not, but it’s definitely time to be worried. Not because they’re just losing games, but because they’re losing games they should be winning. The Clippers have already beaten multiple title contenders, so we know exactly what they’re capable of. Others may say, but that’s when they had Chauncey Billups. However, since his season-ending injury, they’ve gotten wins against a great Philadelphia team, Portland (before their downhill slope), gave themselves a chance to win against Dallas, and probably should have beaten the Spurs a few weeks ago.

Since nobody else knows the exact reason as to why this is occurring, as a very emotionally-attached fan, this is my opinion. Effort. Plain and simple. Sure, they can say they’re trying to win games against teams who have no business in making the playoffs, but the way they start is completely different from the way they start against championship contenders. Against teams “lower” than them, the Clippers play down to their level and get beat at it, while teams who are “equal” or higher than them, the Clippers play like their pants are on fire and come out with a ton of energy. As a team, their defense picks up and automatically leads to better offense.

Anyone can blame the tough schedule, as they played 10 of their last 14 games on the road, but the effort seems to be lacking on all sides. Perhaps the only exception is Caron Butler who has probably been the most consistent player on the team, but is now missing wide open shots and went scoreless against Minnesota Monday night. Maybe he lost his confidence? Is it his age? I just have no idea what’s up with him.

There are an endless number of reasons as to why the Clippers have been a .500 team since Billups went down, but to me, they still have the potential to go deep into the playoffs. It’s just a matter of effort.

On a brighter note: The Clippers’ bench seems to be a lot more active on both ends, and have brought their starters back into the game multiple times on this road trip. Bobby Simmons has a great asset to contribute to the bench, Kenyon Martin is hitting jumpers pretty consistently and is an amazing defender, Eric Bledsoe is getting his legs back, and the trade deadline is coming up. Perhaps, we’ll add someone to the likes of, oh I don’t know. Ray Allen? Jamal Crawford?

Edit: Right after I posted this entry, Lakers lost to Detroit. I guess Clippers are back on top of the Pacific Division, but I wouldn’t get too excited too soon.