The Clippers are in a state of disrepair, falling and unable to find answers for what has flummoxed them, a 129-114 defeat by the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night yet another contest that left them confounded afterward.
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were both back home in Los Angeles, resting, but what has ailed these Clippers has been an issue even when those two have played.
Since the end of the All-Star break last month, the Clippers have lost eight of 13 games. They have lost three consecutive games.
“I don’t know what to expect from this team anymore,” J.J. Redick said after scoring 22 points at the Pepsi Center. “It’s just — we’re in a bad place right now. We’re losing games. We’ve been [a mess] since the All-Star break.”
The Clippers have been losing ground in the Western Conference playoff race in the process.
They remained in the fifth spot in the West, three games behind the fourth-place Utah Jazz.
But now the Clippers have Oklahoma City on their heels, the sixth-place Thunder just a half-game behind them. And Memphis is creeping up on the Clippers too, the sixth-place Grizzlies one game behind L.A.
“Still trying to figure it out,” Chris Paul said after he scored 18 points and handed out 14 assists.
The Clippers have played 69 regular-season games, and here they are still unsure who they are as a team.
“Yeah, you would hope to not be trying to figure that out at this point of the season,” Paul said.
Every game, the Clippers say their defense has to get better, but nothing changes.
So, going into this game without Griffin and Jordan and playing on a second consecutive night, Redick already had his expectations.
“I expect that we’re going to play horrible defense. I expect that,” he said. “That seems pretty consistent with where we’re at right now and other than that I have no other predictions.”
The Clippers allowed the Nuggets to make 53.5% of their shots, 53.6% of their three-pointers.
Will Barton dropped a career-high 35 points on the Clippers off the bench and Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
“Our defense kind of sucks right now,” Paul correctly stated. “That’s, like, on us. We’ve got to get more effort and all that stuff like that. But we’ve just got to be better all around.”
It won’t get any easier for the Clippers. They will host the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.
“It’s been a weird year, man. Been a weird year, for sure,” Redick said.
“The whole season has been weird. The start, even the [seven-game] winning streak in January, seems like three seasons ago.”