The weapons the Clippers collected over the summer were supposed to help them withstand the rough patches that were sure to surface during this season.
Clearly that has not been the case. They are playing the same sorry and inconsistent defense, whether the roster is complete on a given night or without key components.
So when the Clippers got trounced Thursday night in Denver — with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both home in L.A. — the incorrect assumption was that the Clippers were better equipped to handle the loss of two centerpieces.
“We have guys — with the exception of maybe our rookies — who haven’t seen a lot of game action, who have been rotation players and starters and are contributors on good teams, guys that know how to win,” J.J. Redick said. “So you expect it just to flow a little bit better regardless of who’s in the lineup or who’s out of the lineup.”
The Clippers acquired players such as Raymond Felton, Alan Anderson and Marreese Speights, who started for Jordan, for times like Thursday night.
They were added to a team that already had Redick, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, Jordan, Griffin and Luc Mbah a Moute.
But the entire group is spiraling in the wrong direction, going 5-8 in their last 13 games.
The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers come to town to face the Clippers on Saturday evening at Staples Center, and maybe, it was suggested to Paul, such a worthy opponent would push them. He’ll have Jordan and Griffin back for the game.
“I have to get ya’ll to understand that whether it’s the Cavs, whether it’s the Bucks, whether it’s Denver, like — this is our job,” Paul said. “Those (Nuggets) guys over there are pros just like the Cavs. So you got to get up for this game just like we get up for Saturday.”
Paul theorized that if the Clippers swept the season series from the Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs (the three top teams in the NBA) and lost frequently to other opponents that it would still leave them in a bad spot.
“Like, would that make us legit if we just beat them and don’t beat nobody else?” Paul asked. “Like, you got to get up every night.”
For Paul it’s simple: Do your job. Play the team in front of you. Respect every opponent.
“I seriously look at it [as] we’ve got the Cavs on Saturday,” he said. “That’s the next opponent. We get ready for them. Then I think we’ve got the Knicks on Monday, the Lakers on Tuesday (and) Dallas on Thursday. Every night it’s do your job. Whoever is out there, do your job.”
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: ABC; Radio: 570, 1330.
Records: Clippers 40-29; Cavaliers 45-22.
Record vs. Cavaliers: Clippers 1-0.
Update: LeBron James has 10 triple-doubles this season, the third-most in the NBA. The Cavaliers are fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 110.7 points per game. The Cavs are the second-best three-point shooting team in the league, making 39.1% of those shots. They are second in three-point attempts (33.9) and makes (13.2) in the league. … This is the beginning of a four-game trip for the Cavaliers, three of them on the West Coast and the final game at Charlotte.
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner