The Los Angeles Clippers entered the season with high expectations, but things haven’t gone according to plan just yet. After starting the year 4-2, the Clippers have lost seven of nine and three in a row, including an ugly 91-80 loss to the Toronto Raptors in which they trailed by 29 points at halftime.
With tempers boiling over after the game, Josh Smith got in an obscenity-laced shouting match with an unspecified coach in the locker room, according to Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and other players downplayed the incident and chalked it up to frustration from losing.
The Clippers struggled through recent injuries to Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, but things appeared to be fixed when they went up by 23 points against the Golden State Warriors (without Redick). Of course, Los Angeles blew that game in epic fashion, then went on to lose by 11 to a struggling Portland Trail Blazers squad. Sunday’s game was just ugly, and it was “only” an 11-point loss because Toronto went ice cold for a good chunk of the second half.
Outside of the key injuries, there have been plenty of problems. Rivers has constantly been changing up the lineups trying to find something that works. Smith hasn’t been very good. Paul Pierce looks washed up. Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers have been inconsistent. Lance Stephenson has been in and out of the rotation. There’s plenty of talent on this roster, but there are fit issues that have cropped up that were a concern going into the year.
You have to think the Clippers will turn things around, but questions about their legitimacy as a title contender are warranted right now. Doc has to figure things out with his rotations, and the players need to start performing better.