The ever-combustible Clippers up and combusted today. This afternoon, they dropped their third straight game (and their sixth of seven) to the Toronto Raptors. 6-7 is good for the worst start of the Chris Paul era. Given the cocktail of stubborn personalities in that locker room, it’s thoroughly unsurprising that this level of losing (for a team with championship expectations) produced some infighting.
According to a report from the Orange County Register, Josh Smith and “an unnamed Clippers coach” did several cusses at each other and it got so loud that reporters could hear it next door:
Josh Smith and an unspecified Clipper coach were involved in a frustration-fueled argument following the Clippers’ 91-80 loss to Toronto Sunday.
Profanities and yelling made their way through the cement walls separating the Clipper locker room from an adjacent room where the media was waiting to speak to head coach Doc Rivers.
Doc Rivers may not have been the coach involved in this particular kerfuffle, but as a hybrid coach/GM, he’s at least partially to blame for the Clippers’ slump. He went out and added volatile dudes Smith and Lance Stephenson and doesn’t appear to know quite how to integrate them into the team. Their defense has slipped from 15th last year to the bottom five. Defending at an average rate was fine when they had the top offense last year, but they are scoring five fewer points per possession and rebounding amongst the worst three teams in the NBA. Rivers, for his part, knows that the Clippers need to get right and soon:
The Clippers certainly have the talent to turn things around, but chemistry-wise, this team is a disaster. It’s no surprise that DeAndre Jordan wanted to leave. The team seems to do fine when they’re winning, but as we saw in last year’s playoffs, losing compounds quickly for the Clippers.
Photo via AP