The LA Clippers picked up a much needed win on Tuesday night, defeating a tanking Houston Rockets in a game that went down to the wire. Behind an all-around incredible performance from Paul George, the Clippers were able to avoid a five-game losing streak. After the game, George said the team’s early struggles fall on his shoulders.
“I take full responsibility for us and our record right now, not getting off to the start – having the start that we’ve had so far. Regardless, like I have been saying, regardless of who is in the lineup, who’s not, I am more than capable of going out and performing and willing our team to wins,” George told reporters.
This game from George came less than 24 hours after he vowed to be better. Following the team’s fourth-straight loss, George said, “It starts with me. I was poor tonight. I’ve been poor the last couple games. I’ll get it together. I’m committed to my work, I’m committed to this team succeeding.”
George put actions behind his words on Monday night, and it led to a much needed win. The question now, is can the Clippers turn this into a stretch of wins?
The start of something big
As Paul George put it on Monday night, the Clippers are not playing the NBA’s “heavy-weights” right now. George meant no disrespect to their current opponents, but this is currently a light portion of the schedule for LA. Having yet to capitalize on this, the Clippers are entering a stretch of games that should produce multiple consecutive wins.
Following Monday’s win over Houston, the Clippers’ next three games come against those same Rockets, the tanking Spurs, and the tanking Jazz. While both San Antonio and Utah are performing better than most expected, their success is not sustainable, and should not hold up against the level of team the Clippers expect to be.
After that stretch of games, the Clippers begin facing a bit more resistance with opponents like Cleveland, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Dallas. While the Lakers and Nets are not playing well, they have star-power, which is something the Clippers won’t see much of in their next three games. If the team can build upon their most recent win during this upcoming stretch, they will have an opportunity to begin hitting their stride when the schedule gets tougher.
The availability of Kawhi Leonard is something to monitor, but as Paul George said, he and the Clippers are more than capable of winning games regardless of who plays. These next few games will be vital for the Clippers and their ability to make up some of the ground they lost with their lackluster start.
While it’s still very early, the Western Conference is too competitive to get complacent with mediocrity. The Clippers know they are far from the level they must reach, and the path to getting there needs to start soon.