There was an unexpected soundtrack to the final minutes of the
It was the latest chapter in a Clippers season that has featured elements of both a fairy tale and the apocalypse, often within the same week.
A day after notching perhaps their most impressive victory, the Clippers were flattened by a sub-.500 team in a 104-90 loss to the Miami Heat.
Jordan also seemed flummoxed by the decibel level unleashed by Heat fans inside his home arena.
"We tried to come out today and get a road win," Jordan deadpanned. "It just didn't happen."
Things went haywire for the Clippers almost immediately after they took a 13-point lead less than six minutes into the game. They were outscored in each quarter and picked up four technical fouls as the frustration, defensive lapses and missed shots mounted.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin scored 26 points and point guard
The Clippers also collected a season-low 27 rebounds, 19 fewer than the Heat, and lacked the offensive pace that had made them so formidable during victories over the Lakers and
"The other games we were winning, we were playing so fast and so consistent because we were getting stops," Paul said. "So everything I think with us starts on the defensive end."
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he almost tore his rotator cuff pleading with his team to exert more energy getting up the court. They were lackadaisical against an opponent that had lost five of its previous six games.
Griffin and Paul said the Clippers' inconsistency has largely resulted from a lack of effort and spirit.
"Those things are the most frustrating because those are the things you can control just with your mind-set and not letting whatever they do affect you," Griffin said. "They're going to score points, and sometimes we just let it get to us too much and we let our [poor] defense take us out of our offense."
The Clippers (25-13) concluded their season-long homestand with six wins in nine games. More concerning to Griffin than the record was the manner in which it was obtained.
"Some of those games that we lost … I think we could do a better job just as far as the way we play," Griffin said. "Sometimes you lose games, a team plays better than you, but I think we need to be better than this, and I think we all know that."