One play against Pelicans sums up everything wrong with LA Clippers now

Marcus Morris Sr. #8, Serge Ibaka #9, Paul George #13 and Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Marcus Morris Sr. #8, Serge Ibaka #9, Paul George #13 and Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

With the LA Clippers down by 13 and running out of time to make a comeback, Paul George drove into the lane to make something happen. Six seconds later, Jonas Valanciunas was dunking the ball to cap off one of the greatest games of his career.

Not much went right in the Clippers’ 123-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, but perhaps the most glaring issue was something the team has been struggling with all season: turnovers.

The bad pass by George leading to the fastbreak dunk was just one of seven turnovers for the Clippers star, but it represents a trend they can’t seem to break this season.

The LA Clippers have a serious turnover problem

The Clippers committed 15 turnovers on Monday, and that’s exactly how many they’re averaging on a per-game basis. The 15.2 turnovers per game they currently give up are the sixth-most in the league, and so are the 13.8 fastbreak points they give up.

Forced turnovers are always going to happen, especially when the better defensive teams in the league are on the other side of the court. This particular turnover by George was definitely not forced though.

One area LA needs to clean up is their sloppiness with simple plays like this one. It seems like Paul anticipated Eric Bledsoe staying in the corner while Bledsoe instead started cutting to the rim. The result was a 15-point deficit that’s next to impossible to overcome in four minutes.

Paul George needs to take the lead in reducing his turnovers since his 4.3 per game is one full turnover per game more than his personal record worst set last season. Obviously, he needs the ball in his hands the most with Kawhi Leonard sidelined so he’s expected to cough the ball up more than anyone. Still, that’s too many for someone with his handles and basketball IQ.

It doesn’t all fall on George though. Eric Bledsoe (2.2) and Reggie Jackson (2.0) are both committing at least a couple of turnovers per game as well.

Health will ultimately be the biggest factor in the Clippers having a shot at success late in the season. But turnovers are something they can control themselves, so Tyronn Lue would be wise to focus on cutting those down dramatically if he wants his guys to get back on track soon.

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Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, the Clippers need to show they value the basketball or they could risk a three-game losing streak pulling them back down to .500.