Nick Wass/Associated Press
Leonard told reporters he’s “very concerned” about the team’s recent form, indicating his belief the Clippers have lacked the consistency necessary to be a true championship contender:
Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
Kawhi Leonard said Clippers having efforts and inconsistency like this against Pels and Grizz has him “very concerned. If you want to have a chance at anything, got to be consistent…nights where energy is not there. It’s all about consistency…that is what makes a team great.”
By now, the Clippers should’ve worked through the growing pains that are natural after signing two marquee free agents and then making a coaching change following an embarrassing postseason flameout. That’s what makes Los Angeles’ present situation even more head-scratching.
Following a four-game winning streak in mid-February, L.A. has gone 4-7. Not all of those losses have been blowouts, but the Clippers lost to the Utah Jazz by 18 on Feb. 17 and the Memphis Grizzlies by 28 on Feb. 25. Sunday was the worst of the bunch.
The Pelicans are better than their record (17-22) indicates, but there’s no excuse for allowing them to shoot 65.4 percent from the field. The Clippers surrendered 36 points in the first quarter, and that set the tone for a lifeless showing on defense.
Last year, it was easy to downplay any drama behind the scenes or flat performances in the belief head coach Doc Rivers would get everybody on the same page when the games really counted. Then the collapse happened, and it turned out all of those problems couldn’t simply be waved away.
That’s not to say the Clippers are going to experience the same outcome all over again this summer. Current head coach Tyronn Lue saw firsthand with the Cleveland Cavaliers how a team can come together in the playoff crucible.
But you can’t blame fans who think they’re watching a repeat of the 2019-20 season.