After winning their first four games to open the season, the Clippers looked more than capable of holding their own in the first year of the post-Chris Paul era. However, the club’s fortunes have taken a sharp downward turn since then. After a blowout loss in New York on Monday night, the Clippers have now slipped to 5-11, losing nine straight contests and 11 of their last 12.
There are a few factors contributing to the Clippers’ struggles. The team has been hit hard by injuries, with key players like Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, and Milos Teodosic missing time so far this season. And the club’s schedule hasn’t exactly been soft during the current nine-game losing streak — the Spurs, Cavaliers, and Thunder are among the teams that have beaten L.A. during that stretch, and six of the Clips’ last seven games have been on the road.
Still, there have been some bad losses for the Clippers this month, with Monday’s representing the latest. After cutting the Knicks’ lead to two points midway through the third quarter, the Clippers surrendered a 12-0 run and never recovered, with head coach Doc Rivers suggesting that run took the team’s “spirit” away.
“When you lose nine games in a row, you’re in a losing streak, you start feeling sorry for yourself when things don’t go right and you can’t do that,” Rivers said.
Following the game, Marc Stein of The New York Times stopped short of saying that Rivers is on the hot seat, but he did tweet that Rivers will “inevitably” begin to face “hot-seat scrutiny.” After years of falling short in the playoffs with those CP3-led squads, the Clippers entered the season hopeful that Rivers could alter the team’s approach and get the most out of the new-look roster. So far, that hasn’t happened.
While it’s probably too early for the Clippers to make a change, it’s still worth a discussion. Rivers had his president of basketball operations title removed this past summer, and is now simply the team’s head coach. His contract is a lucrative one, but it reportedly only runs through the 2018/19 season, so the Clippers wouldn’t be on the hook for several years worth of salary if they were to replace him.
What do you think? Is it time for the Clippers to make a head coaching change, or at least to seriously consider one? Or has Rivers’ résumé earned him the right to receive every opportunity to right the ship in Los Angeles? Jump into our comment section below to weigh in!