NBA Analysts Explain How the Clippers Left Behind Internal Issues to Build the Team Chemistry

Published 01/19/2021, 3:40 AM EST
Jan 17, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) goes up for a basket in the first half of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Clippers were the favorites to qualify for the NBA Finals 2020. If anything, they were at least sure to reach the WC Finals. But none of that happened because of the lack of leadership, the dent in their chemistry, and their choking under pressure. 

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It now seems as if the Clippers have left all that behind them. With the exit of Doc Rivers and the entry of Tyronn Lue, the Clippers are soaring high. They lost all three of their preseason games but began the regular-season campaign with two big wins. Today, they’re back at #2 in the WC rankings. 

Is it safe to say that the Clippers are back?

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It is kind of too early to suggest anything like that. Last year they produced a 49-23 record, but things collapsed on the crucial stage. So they’ll have to show more character to win back that trust. 

Paul George had earlier said after their blowout win against the Pacers, “It’s a real bond man, it’s fun, but this team is locked in, we’re together. It’s one of the best locker rooms I’ve been around and been in. Hopefully, you guys see it, just how well we’re meshing and we’re gonna continue to build off that. We like where we’re at, we like where we’re headed.”

PG was largely blamed for the fall-out of Clippers in the playoffs. He averaged a 6-year postseason low in the series.

In an ESPN interview, 7-time NBA Champion Robert Horry countered PG by suggesting, “We can have this conversation after every 30-point win, and guys are saying this because they’re trying to make themselves believe it.

“With Ty Lue there, he’s gonna emphasize that a lot and PG starting to say ‘I’m gonna make up for what I did in playoffs’ and with Kawhi [Leonard] buying in and saying, ‘I’m gonna go back-to-back, be here for you guys’ that means a lot.”

How must the new locker room feel?

In the off-season 2020, the Clippers lost Montrezl Harrell (Lakers), JaMychal Green (Nuggets), and Landry Shamet (Nets), among others. Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka (Raptors), Nicolas Batum (Hornets), and Ky Bowman (Warriors), joined them. They kept their star duo intact and swapped the bench. 

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As of now, that is proving a good move. Even in their recent game against the strong Indiana Pacers, 7 players scored in double-figure. Marcus Morris Sr. and Luke Kennard scored 20 points, each coming off the bench.

Even as an NBA coach, David Fizdale noted, “Ty Lue is doing a heck of a job of getting guys to buy into the role. The noise around Paul George early on brought all those guys together.

“It is the same when we got LeBron in Miami, the ridicule he got. So what it did for us is everybody in the locker room surrounded, don’t put the hands on him. So, that’s what’s happening with the Clipper. And Morris, when he gets you to circle up in the locker room, it’s real, that there gonna be no BS… So, they’re on the right track.”

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LeBron helped the Heat to win two titles,. Can PG replicate it for the Clippers? Help us know your views in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1118 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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