Los Angeles Clippers: It is time to panic!


The Los Angeles Clippers collapsed with three poor performances last week, and it’s time to hit the panic button.

I am not the type to play both sides of the fence regardless of the topic. If you want an honest opinion about anything, come to me and you will get it. These Clippers though are in an odd spot. On one hand, we understand the process they have to go through with integrating new players into their system, so a rough start was to be expected. On the other hand they look passionless and at times disorganized which are never traits you want to see in any team with Championship aspirations. Is it time to panic or is it time for patience?


This is edict to Clipper fans everywhere that it is indeed time to panic! My admonition to Clipper fans everywhere that it is time to be patient can be found here. When it comes to these Clippers at this time there is no choice but to plant myself firmly on both sides of the fence.

They have gone 6-10 since the Rockets meltdown

Ugh, now this one hurts. Not just because they are four games under .500 after losing to the Houston Rockets in game 5 of last season’s playoffs but because of how they lost game 6 (more on that later). Nothing speaks as loudly as the W or the L. The Patrick Ewing Knicks would regularly proclaim themselves to be the better team whenever the subject of the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls game up. Words are easy, backing them up is a bit tougher. The Knicks couldn’t back up their words; they racked up more L’s than W’s than the Bulls during their match-ups. Sadly, the L’s are piling up for the Clippers since that loss to the Rockets. Maybe that loss had an impact on the team? Maybe they are psychologically damaged?

Nothing says panic more than psychological damage.

Did you see the game against the Warriors?

Good point. Yes, I watched it. The ridiculous highs, the heart-wrenching lows. I watched every second. You bring up a very good point. Hard to argue with your logic here.

I guess it’s time to panic.

Nov 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the basket past Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Game against the Warriors was deja vu back to Rockets Game 6

Game 6 against the Rockets was meant to be a milestone for the Clippers. A signature moment in Los Angeles. An opportunity to carve out a moment that belonged solely to them. A chance to embed themselves in Staples Center lore that is chock full of Lakers milestones. That was their moment, their chance. They were Casey and they came up to bat. Just like poor ole Casey, the Clippers whiffed.

I never wrote about that game. Not because it was painful but more because I felt I needed time to properly process what I had seen. It was a monumental collapse of epic proportions. I realize some might call that a hyperbole but I am disappointed at how mild that sentence sounds. The Clippers were at home, they had the Rockets on their heels. The crowd was rocking and Blake Griffin was making the types of shots that are reserved for halftime shows. They were going to win and reach the Western Conference Finals. It was meant to be. It was going to happen.

Until it didn’t.

In 1986 the Angels baseball team had a similar opportunity. After decades of futility they were one strike away – please note that – one strike away, from the World Series. Donnie Moore had the baseball, he was the Angels saves leader that season and he was facing Dave Henderson of Boston. All that needed to happen was for one pitch that Henderson swung at to make it to the catcher. Even contact by Henderson could mean advancement to the Series of the ball was hit to one of the Angel fielders. Baseball players, at their very best, only put the ball in play 30 percent of the time. Everything was in the Angels favor. This was their moment, their time. It was meant to be, it was going to happen.

Until it didn’t.

I was at that game, pressed up against the barrier close to left field ready to storm out as was the habit of fans at the time. Moore delivered as the crowd prepared to celebrate and release decades of frustration. Instead of finding the catcher’s mitt, however, the ball made contact with Henderson’s bat. The sound was deafening. The ball sailed high and over the fence for a two run home run. The Angels were one strike away but now found themselves losing the game. They went on to lose the series.

It took the franchise 16 years to recover from that collapse. The Clippers don’t have that much time. It’s interesting to see some of the parallels between that Angels team and the Clippers. When the Angels won it all in 2002 they had a new owner in their 3rd year, a new logo and made it past what looked to be an unbeatable team from Northern California in the Oakland A’s who won 20 in a row that season. The Clippers have a new owner in his second year, a new logo and the seemingly unbeatable foe from No Cal is obvious. Where the Angels crashed through every barrier the Clippers, thus far in the process, seem to be stuck in neutral.

Against the Rockets they had a big lead, they seemed to relax and let their opponent in the game. When the game was close, the team seemed to play panicked. I will never forget watching game 6 and realizing with just a few seconds left in the game that the Clippers were going to lose. I literally could not believe it. Fast forward to Clips vs Dubs in 2015. They had a big lead, they seemed to relax and let their opponent back in the game. When the game was close, the team seemed to play panicked. I hope to soon forget watching that game against the Dubs with seconds left and shaking my head at the fact that the Clippers were going to lose this game. Deja Vu all over again.

Yes Clipper fan, its time to panic in spades.

November 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) speaks with guard Chris Paul (3) during a stoppage in play against Toronto Raptors during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Next: The Clippers' struggles are leading to locker room arguments

The teams window is closing

Articles have already been written about potential exits of Doc Rivers and/or Chris Paul. Every team in the Association outside of the franchise in San Antonio feels they have a set amount of time to win or lose with certain players. The General Manager picks those players, the owner pays them and the coach hopes to mold them into a team. After three to five years it is time to continue to fish or it is time to cut bait. For these Clippers, the core of Jamal Crawford, Paul, Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick have been together now for three years. If you don’t think that panic has set in at the Clippers’ executive office then you, like Jon Snow, know nothing.

If the Clippers with their revamped bench and additional year of experience cannot kick the door down and make it to the Western Conference Finals, someone substantial will take the fall. It might be coach Rivers, although that’s doubtful, it might be GM Rivers, which is more possible. It might even CP3. As hard a fact as it is to accept, it remains a fact that a team is better off trading a player one year too early than one year too late. The Clippers’ window remains open, but for the first time since the core have played together it is more closed than it is open.

Lance Stephenson in the dog house?

His move from starting small forward to earning DNP-CD’s came a little too quick to not be a red flag. One big concern when the Clippers brought Stephenson into the fold was fear that he might create chemistry problems. Is the recent lack of playing time a symptom of that issue or maybe the start of it? Whatever the team may be publicly saying about it the truth of the matter is that no team hoping to compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy needs in-house distractions. If Stephenson is becoming one that is more than reason enough to panic.

Paul Pierce looks like a shell of himself

More from Clipperholics

The Clippers knew they were not getting the Paul Pierce that the Celtics enjoyed. They did hope they were getting the Paul Pierce that called game as a member of the Washington Wizards. It wasn’t just that Wizards Paul Pierce shot so well, it was when those shots came. A mature player knows when to take the three point shot. There is a time in every game when a three can bring a crowd to its feet. The three that comes to give the team a lead, or to increase the lead into double digits. Those are dagger threes and Pierce is as aware of when to take those as anyone. For the Wizards he not only took them, he made them, So far for the Clippers, he continues to take them but is just not making them with any regularity.

Yes Clipper fans, now is the time to panic. Anyone who tells you otherwise is crazy. Now is the time to pack it in, admit it’s over and panic. I can’t stand sports writers who are so quick to pull the “Patience Card”. Shame on them.

(Editor’s note: go and read Jose Salviati’s other side of the argument here).