Clippers’ Tyronn Lue Has Harsh Words For Team’s Identity

Tyronn Lue, Clippers, NBA
Mar 25, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue watches game action against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 NBA regular season has been a roller coaster ride for the Los Angeles Clippers. They started slowly, integrating James Harden into their lineup after a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Once they found their footing, the Clippers looked like one of the best teams in the NBA. They were atop the Western Conference, looking like the contenders many predicted they would be. Alas, that dominance didn’t continue, as the team has fallen back to the pack a little bit.

With their loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, the Clippers dropped to fifth place in the Western Conference. They are tied with the New Orleans Pelicans, but because of the tiebreaker, Los Angeles sits behind them in the standings.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Tyronn Lue, Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clipper Updates

The team has been struggling to find their rhythm again, as players are nicked up, causing head coach Tyronn Lue to continually tinker with his lineup. Los Angeles has lost six out of their last nine games, and given how competitive the West is, an extended stretch of poor play could result in another slide down the standings.

A common theme in recent post-game pressers and interviews with Lue and players on the team is the identity of the team. They are lacking one, but in Lue’s opinion they have on; it just isn’t what a team wants to be identified as.

“So identity for us, it’s got to be toughness,” Lue said. “Which means physicality, mental and physical toughness, a high-powered offense — we can score in a lot of different ways — and we got to have a defensive mindset.

“And so right now, do we have an identity? I think, yeah, we’re soft.”

Lue was not happy with his team’s performance defensively against the Pacers, allowing Indiana to shoot 17-of-28 from 3-point range. That has dropped them to 10-12 since their Grammy road trip, which they completed on a 26-5 stretch and arguably best team in the NBA.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Tyronn Lue, Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clipper Updates

“When we were 26-5, we had a great identity,” Lue said. “So you can’t pick and choose when you want to lead. You can’t pick and choose when you want to have identity. You can’t pick and choose when you want to do things the right way.”

Losing point guard Russell Westbrook to a fractured hand had certainly hurt the Clippers. He was able to set the tone for his teammates coming off the bench and they are missing that with him out of the lineup.

Alas, even his return against the Pacers wasn’t enough to get the team back on track, at least not yet. With him working his way back into the mix, Los Angeles should start finding their way once again. He is an integral part of the team’s success, putting his ego aside and coming off the bench for their betterment.

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