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After a somewhat surprising strong start, the Los Angeles Clippers have put together a December to not remember.
Instead, they had lost seven of nine entering Thursday’s home game vs. the Dallas Mavericks.
Yet they believe that there is still reason to … well, believe.
“We’re gonna weather the storm and come out of it,” Clippers forward Tobias Harris told reporters. “Every team goes through these types of ups and downs. At the moment, it’s not great, but we’re gonna stay positive with everything, come to play, and be ready for our next game. That’s all we can do.
“We can work on this, get better at it, and use this as the motivation we need to get back to how we want to play and that’s just winning. … Once we win a few in a row, we’ll be fine.”
Harris has been the Clippers’ best player since arriving last season as part of the Blake Griffin trade with the Detroit Pistons. He is averaging team-highs of 21.5 points and 8.2 rebounds, and is almost always the man they turn to when in a pinch.
Other key contributors include forward Danilo Gallinari (19.1 points), super sub Lou Williams (17.2), rising forward Montrezl Harrell (15.1) and rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (10.9).
Problem areas? Well, shooting guard Avery Bradley has been a lot less consistent than hoped and may be off to his worst start.
Coach Doc Rivers’ group has also slipped quite a bit defensively, as noted by Mirjam Swanson of the Los Angeles Daily News.
“Entering the month, they were middle-of-the-pack defenders allowing 107.6 points per 100 possessions,” Swanson wrote. “In December, they have a defensive rating of 115.6 – better than only the New York Knicks (115.7), Atlanta Hawks (116.6) and Cleveland Cavaliers (117.7), according to NBA.com/stats.”
The Clippers (17-13 entering Thursday night) sat in third place in the Pacific Division.