April 19, 2024

When the Clippers completed their long-rumored trade for James Harden, coach Tyronn Lue said his team would need 10 games with Harden in their lineup to figure things out. That seemed optimistic, but not impossible.

They were 4-6 in Harden’s break-in period, but had won four of the last five games and were beginning to establish rotations and some semblance of rhythm and confidence. Still, as Lue prepared the Clippers to face the injury-depleted Denver Nuggets on Monday, he knew there would be more turbulence in store as players adjusted to different roles and tried to become a cohesive whole at both ends of the floor. “I’m going to need 82 games,” Lue said.

He wasn’t kidding. And the way the Clippers played in a 113-104 loss to the Nuggets at Crypto.Com Arena suggested a full season won’t be enough for them to sort out how to make the most of a star-studded group that has shown occasional flashes of being a team.

This was the worst loss of the season for the Clippers (7-9), not in margin of defeat but in loss of credibility and consistency. Lue used the word “nasty” to describe their stagnant offense. He could have easily said they stunk, because they did.

They made bad switches defensively, miscommunicated with one another and repeatedly allowed the Nuggets to get back into a game in which they had little business being competitive.

“And so guys are frustrated offensively, but they should be frustrated defensively as well. That’s when you should get mad,” Lue said. “It’s on the defensive end, but I take full responsibility, like I said, and yeah, we’re just not going to play this style of basketball.”

But they did. And it was ugly. “Like I said the other day, it’s going to be a process. Always,” said Russell Westbrook, whose frustrating night included being heckled late in the game by a courtside spectator who Westbrook hinted had crossed the line by insulting his family.

“It’s just going to be times when things go well. Start off slow today and just couldn’t keep it going.”

The Clippers were handed as close to a gimme as the NBA can offer due to the absence of Nikola Jokic (lower back), Jamal Murray (hamstring), and Aaron Gordon (right heel strain), core members of the defending NBA champions’ lineup. Yet the Clippers managed to give up double-digit leads in each half and were unable to stop two of their alumni from taking over the game.

Reggie Jackson, traded by the Clippers to Charlotte last February for Mason Plumlee, hit 15 of 19 shots for a game-high 35 points and racked up 13 assists. DeAndre Jordan, who made his first start of the season because of two-time most valuable player Jokic’s absence, rekindled memories of his old Lob City days with the Clippers, scoring 21 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

“It’s a frustrating loss but you know it’s one of those games where the guys get the opportunities, they played extremely well, and I thought in the absence [of Jokic, Murray and Gordon] the guys stepped up over there,” said Paul George, who hit only two of 13 shots and finished with six points.

“But a lot of this stuff, we could have prevented, I thought we didn’t have the energy there, It wasn’t well enough to compete.”

Jordan, especially, gave them fits. “DeAndre is just an above-the-rim player so it was tough,” George said. “I’ve got to watch [film] to see where the coverage went down or where we could have did better, but I just thought Reg just did a great job putting pressure on the pick and roll and DeAndre is one of the best still at getting out, slipping and playing above the rim. They just had it working tonight.”

The Clippers had little working for them. And Harden, incidentally, began the second 10-game segment of his Clippers career with 11 points on three-for-seven shooting, with two rebounds and four assists. One of the trio of three-point shots he hit seemed, at the time, a stroke that might give the Clippers some separation from the Nuggets, a 28-foot shot that put them ahead 81-74 late in the third quarter.

Harden hasn’t been comfortable in his new catch-and-shoot opportunities, and George sympathized.

“I think it’s just adjustment, just changing game and a habit,” George said. “Habit is a thing and I think he’s just, his rhythm has been so accustomed to off the bounce and creating space and catching rhythm off his dribble, that it is different now in catch-and-shoot situations. I just think the more reps he gets at it, the more he sees in-game that those catch and shoots are available, I think more in rhythm he’ll be. But it’s an adjustment.”

Harden and the Clippers won’t have the luxury of time to make those adjustments, with a schedule that sends them to Sacramento and Golden State for back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday. “We’ve got to turn the page,” Westbrook said. “Got two big road games coming up and take care of business.”

And keep adjusting again and again and again until someday, maybe, they get it right.

Bingo Blitz Credits Farming Strategies: Success Tips
Coin Master Spins Farming Strategies: Insights from Pros
genshin impact redeem codes january 2023 mobile matters
Get Free Zems on ZEPETO: Tips and Tricks
match masters arena 7 funny game like paper clash royale what
TikTok Coin Generator Safety Tips
Unlimited Gems in Brawl Stars: Myth or Reality?
new cheats dragon city free gems mod generator freemind
free family island hack cheats unlimited rubies and energy
how to get diamonds in hay day tips tricks youtube
tutorial how i get unlimited diamonds in litmatch app youtube
myths of moonrise codes september 2022 g7r
Boost Your TikTok Influence with Free Coins
Unlocking TikTok Coins: Insider Techniques
Comment obtenir légalement et rapidement des pièces gratuites sur TikTok
Maximiza tus Ganancias de Monedas TikTok con Estos Consejos
Coin Master Free Spin Generators: Fact or Fiction?
Insights from Pros: Coin Master Free Spins Farming Strategies
Avakin Life Avacoins Farming Demystified

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *