The Clippers are not playing well. They’ve now lost five straight. In the four games since James Harden joined the team, they have lost all of them in lethargic fashion. There’s also a lot of internal angst.
As of Thursday, the Clippers are sitting in 11th place in the West with a 3-6 record.
They started off well, winning three of their opening four games. But then they lost five straight. They lost in overtime to the Lakers on Feb. 2, and in the four games since James Harden joined the team, they’ve been blown out by New York, Brooklyn, and Dallas. They also dropped a game to Memphis, who are at the bottom of the West at the start of the season, and couldn’t break their losing streak.
The energy level has dropped on both offense and defense.
In particular, there is little synergy between the much-hyped front four. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard are all starting at the same time, but the team hasn’t shown the ability to disrupt opposing defenses.
“Harden is too humble (on the court),” head coach Tyronn Lue said in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday.
“He’s trying to fit in too much,” Lu said, “and that’s partly my fault. We talked about the whole team yesterday. Harden needs to be Harden. He’s a guy who’s been leading the league in assists for the last two or three years. His ability to make plays, his ability to be in the pick-and-roll is great, so our team needs to let him be Harden.”
In fact, during the team’s practice on Dec. 12, Lue reportedly asked Harden to play more like his old style against Memphis. Since joining the Clippers, Harden has been spending less time on the ball and handing off more offensive opportunities to Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
“We want him to be more Harden,” said Paul George, “because he’s always been a guy who’s been able to attack every offensive possession with the ball, and not being able to do that in every possession (with the Clippers) was probably a challenge for him. That’s something that he’s working on right now, and that’s something that our whole team is working on.” 아톰카지노 주소
Harden also promised to be more aggressive.
“We have to be more aggressive,” Harden said, “and I’m not just saying we’re going to take a lot of shots. We’re going to attack the defense, we’re going to get into the paint, we’re going to make better plays.”
The Clippers will look to snap a five-game losing streak when they host defending champion Denver on Dec. 15.