Clips look to right ship after brutal loss
The Clippers may have wanted to forget about Monday night’s loss, but coach Doc Rivers refused to let them.
Their 107-88 defeat to the Phoenix Suns was right there on videotape. Rivers watched it after the game, then played it one more time Tuesday morning. Even a good night’s sleep didn’t change things.
"Last night and this morning, the film looked exactly the same to me," he said. "That’s never good."
So Tuesday meant a lot of film study topped by a vigorous practice at the Clippers’ training facility.
"Everybody’s going to be a victim of the film today," center DeAndre Jordan said.
The Clippers play the Charlotte Hornets on New Year’s Day at 7:30 p.m., and it will be a good opportunity to right themselves after losing three of their past four games. Two of those defeats were emotionally draining — a loss at Golden State and an overtime setback at Portland — but they were never in the game against the Suns.
Sometimes we just feel like we’re supposed to beat teams just because it says Clippers on our jersey.
-- DeAndre Jordan
Playing a team that is just one half game behind them in the Pacific Division, the Clippers gave up nine consecutive points to start and led only once, 14-13, when Blake Griffin made a couple of free throws.
But everything else went wrong: 36.5 percent shooting, 20 turnovers and a deficit that reached 29 points in the third quarter. Griffin and Chris Paul were a combined 10 for 29.
If the Suns came in wanting to prove they can contend for the division title against the likely favorites, they proved it.
"Sometimes we just feel like we’re supposed to beat teams just because it says Clippers on our jersey or we have this coach now," Jordan said. "Teams aren’t going to lay down. They’re going to want to beat us even more. I feel like once we watch the tape today and realize that, it’ll be a little better for us."
Guard Jamal Crawford said, "We have to play harder, right from the start. We have to set the tone. We know we’re a good team. Now we’re the hunted. There’s still an adjustment period. There’s still times we get that and times we don’t."
If we think we’re the hunted, they have no idea what the hunted is.
-- Doc Rivers
The Clippers play road games at Dallas and San Antonio on Friday and Saturday, then return home for four games in an 11-day span. That friendly stretch will serve as a prelude to the annual Grammy trip in which they’re gone from Jan. 17-28.
Despite what Jordan and Crawford said, Rivers doesn’t believe the Clippers are the team every opponent points toward, not by any stretch. Only one team carries that burden.
"If we think we’re the hunted, they have no idea what the hunted is," he said. "I’ve been on a hunted team before, and that’s the year after you win the title. All the other teams are delusional if they think they are.
"It doesn’t mean teams aren’t up for us. They want to beat us, clearly, because we’re one of those teams that are supposed to be good, and we have proven so far that we’re pretty good. But there’s a whole other energy that comes with playing the Miami Heat, I can guarantee you that."