We need to acknowledge that this is a historic season for the Los Angeles Clippers — it is the franchise’s first time ever to 50 wins and first time ever it will win the Pacific Division. Some luck in the draft, some aggressive moves by management and owner Donald Sterling writing bigger checks has changed the culture of the franchise.
But with success comes greater expectations.
And that’s where the Clippers find themselves — in the first half of this season the Clippers looked like a contender but as time has gone on their defense has regressed to pedestrian, they are 11-9 in their last 20 and look like a team that could get bounced early in the playoffs.
And with losing comes finger pointing. And chemistry issues. As T.J. Simers wrote about at the Los Angeles Times Wednesday, pointing his pen at DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
Jordan wants nothing to do with Coach Vinny Del Negro because he blames Del Negro for burying him on the bench.
Yet Jordan’s inability to play consistently or make free throws, thereby turning the ball over to the opposition much like a turnover, makes him a liability in close games….
Griffin is Jordan’s buddy, and still a kid. His development has been sabotaged by his inability to accept criticism of any sort….
The pair have also grown tired of Chris Paul’s voice, which is understandable at times. Paul, very much like Kobe Bryant — who has turned off Dwight Howard with his out-of-this-world standards — is relentless. He never shuts up. And Jordan and Griffin have become weary of him.
Chris Paul was asked about that Friday and didn’t sound overly concerned.
The Clippers locker room is unlike many others — Chris Paul’s son, Matt Barnes’ sons and other children are regulars in there. Guys joke around openly and the vibe is more family than a lot of other locker rooms.
But tough times strain families and they are straining the Clippers. CP3 is relentless in his quest to win, Vinny Del Negro’s seat is getting warm and we all wonder what will happen to them in the playoffs. With the losses is coming the finger pointing. It always does.
The big question for the Clippers is how does the playoffs and the chemistry issues impact Chris Paul — he very likely re-signs with the Clippers this summer, but when he does will he demand other changes as well? It’s going to be an interesting summer for the Clippers. And one that does not involve another lottery party.