T.J. SIMERS

In this case, Clippers are guilty of slacking off

They have a chance to win 18th straight game but show little effort in loss to Denver. They are on trial as to whether they belong in loftier circles and can overcome the past, and blasé doesn't work.

DENVER — How do you not show up when you have a chance to win 18 straight games and continue to change the way folks think about you?

Who is coaching this Clippers team, Lane Kiffin?

The Clippers have had a number of seasons in which they didn't win 17 straight, and now they are blasé, wanting everyone to believe this is just business as usual?

The other night, Chris Paul is giving a postgame interview and the team's PR staff cuts it short.

The Clippers haven't had anything to sell for decades, they have never had it going as good as the last few weeks, and suddenly they're acting like big shots?

They lose this one, 92-78, to Denver, and Blake Griffin announces the "sharks" have arrived when the media is admitted into the locker room.

Matt Barnes turns up the music so reporters cannot hear the answers to their questions.

It doesn't matter apparently how many pats on the back they have gotten over the last 17 games, they still don't know how to act like winners.

The 17-game streak suddenly had people talking about the Clippers' championship prospects. Everything is now a test to see whether the perennial losers have what it takes to be winners.

"Why?'' asked Paul.

"You know the franchise you're playing for and its history,'' I said. "It's not like it's breaking news."

"Why do I have to make a case for the team?'' says Paul. "We're not on trial."

"Well, yes you are,'' I said.

"I didn't know that,'' said Paul.

"I just expected more tonight from a team now being talked about in loftier circles,'' I said.

"I'm sorry. I apologize. We've got to do better,'' says Paul, while rolling with the postgame conversation as he always does. "For me what I think about is our whole season has been about streaks.

"We won two games to start and then lost two, we won four and then lost four and then we won 17….''

"So that means this is the beginning of a 17-game losing streak?" I suggest while rolling with the postgame conversation as I always do.

The Clippers were never in this one, the team a "step slow'' as Griffin put it. In other words, they didn't show up.

Thanks for the New Year's memories.

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