Did success get inside the heads of the Clippers? Did all the accolades after a 10-1 start to the season in which they had the best record, best defense and a strong bench make them full of themselves?
Center DeAndre Jordan pondered those questions after the Clippers lost their third straight game Tuesday night in Brooklyn and concluded that his team might have just started to believe that narrative.
And Jordan, for one, doesn’t like this current approach the Clippers have taken.
“I think we’re smelling ourselves a little bit,” Jordan said. “I mean, we haven’t done [bleep]. Nothing! We were, what, No. 1 in the West for a couple of weeks? That don’t mean nothing. At all.
“And I feel like we took that for granted. We thought we were a lot better than we really are. We’ve got to continue to get better and just have respect for the game and it’ll treat you right. But we got to get back to our ways, man, because if not, it’s going to be a long season.”
A Clippers defense that was smothering to start the season has been in shambles during the three-game skid, giving up an average of 108.6 points.
They trailed by 18 points in the loss to Detroit, lost by 21 to Indiana and blew an 18-point lead to Brooklyn.
Coach Doc Rivers got two technical fouls in the first overtime against the Nets and backup center Marreese Speights earned a technical foul in the fourth quarter.
Now, the Clippers will try to pull it together under even tougher circumstances.
They will be playing the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night.
“We’ve given up three games, two games [Detroit and Brooklyn] that we’ve beat before at home by pretty large margins, another team [Indiana] that had their best player out,” Jordan said. “So I feel like a lot of the time we’re taking stuff for granted. We can’t do that. Everybody is in the NBA for a reason. Everybody is talented. You got to respect the game and figure it out, bro.”
After their latest defeat at Brooklyn, Jordan said the Clippers talked about the mess they are in.
“Yeah, we talked, and we know it was a bad loss,” Jordan said. “The last three games have been bad losses. It’s not acceptable for what we’re trying to do here.”
When: 5 p.m. PST, Thursday.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket, TNT; Radio: 570, 1330.
Records: Clippers 14-5; Cavaliers 13-3.
Records vs. Cavaliers: Clippers 0-2 (2015-16 season).
Update: The Clippers have lost four consecutive games to the Cavaliers. The 18 games in 31 days the Clippers have played since Oct. 30 are the most in the NBA over that stretch. Cleveland’s big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are leading the defending NBA champions. Irving leads the team in scoring (24.5), James leads in assists (9.3) and Love leads in rebounding (10.9).