By Shawn Dennis
Where do I begin? Well, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Clippers by a score of 124-73 on Sunday night. Paul George, Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Reggie Jackson, and Nicolas Batum combined for a whopping 27 points, as many as the entire team scored in the first-half. I can’t distinguish what’s more blasphemous for the Los Angeles Clippers: setting the record for the largest half-time deficit or losing by the same amount?
Paul George and the Clippers may have lost by 51, but I can come up with a hell of a lot more points as to how embarrassing and shameful this defeat is for a team with such high standards in the league. One being it makes sense why Montrez Harrell left for the other LA team with a tremendous pay cut. Something’s going on in the Bay.
Sure, the Clippers were missing the best player on their roster in Kawhi Leonard after that gruesome mouth laceration, but to lose to a Mavericks squad without Kristaps Porzingis by that big of a margin? It’s inexcusable. What is this team in need of so badly to turn this “sinking ship” around and defy those that have been doubting this loaded roster? It’s certainly not just having Kawhi back out on the floor that’ll make the difference. So what is it?
There’s a lot of skepticism towards head coach Tyronn Lue’s comments in his post-game interview. Mainly with his answer of “I think you just throw it away” after being asked about his team’s horrendous performance. In all honesty, there’s nothing that Ty Lue could’ve said that would be considered a reasonable excuse as to why the Clippers only scored 27 points going into halftime or any other ridiculous statistic that you can add from this game. However, to not address the situation at hand or to “throw it away” doesn’t seem like the most reassuring way to handle a blowout of this decree.
Now, am I suggesting that Lue should be fired after only the third game this season? Of course not. Ty Lue has a respectable career from playing under Phil Jackson in the late 90’s, being the Director of Basketball Development in 2009 for the Boston Celtics, and of course, coaching LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first championship in 2016 as well as bringing them to three straight NBA Finals. However, what this Clippers team doesn’t have that Lue’s previous teams did is a true leader.
It’s apparent that nobody wants to take responsibility on the floor, demand the ball when it’s crunch time or to rally a team back together when it’s needed most as there was no leadership shown at all throughout Sunday night’s game and practically all other contests. Sure, Paul George said “I take full responsibility” when being asked what happened post-game, but as we all know, actions speak louder than words. Quite frankly, I can’t recall when he has provided a spark for his team through his words and actions on the court to flip the script.
Whatever is going on behind closed doors in the Honey Training Center today and for the weeks that follow, someone on this Clippers team has to address the elephant in the room and come up with a resolution for this lackadaisical performance. If not, why should anyone think that they won’t repeat what happened last season in the playoffs or in practically all the other playoffs they have been a part of?
These players make millions upon millions of dollars to play the sport they love. If the Clippers don’t bounce-back with a bang after this game, why would their fans continue to support them? They’re fortunate none of those fans were able to attend the Staples Center the day after Christmas. Imagine what that would’ve been like.