For Clippers star Paul George, everything that has gone wrong in recent weeks for the Clippers is all connected, and it was firmly on display against the lowly Pelicans in a home loss on Monday night. The Clippers got hammered on the boards in the game, allowing 47 while grabbing only 35 themselves. The Clippers gave up 14 offensive rebounds, including seven to center Jonas Valanciunas, who drubbed the Clips for 39 points.
The real culprit, according to George, is not the Clippers’ rebounding ability. It’s their failure as a fast-break NBA team.
Here’s what George had to say about the team’s rebounding, and the connection that has to the poor transition play:
That’s honestly our kryptonite. Every team goes toward that, sending guys to the glass. They just think that they can do that and there’s no penalty to it because we haven’t been a great transition team once we get rebounds. So, we’re just going to see this every night where teams are going to send guys to the glass. We just been bad, taking care of it. Just converting. We haven’t been converting in transition, we haven’t been converting when we had numbers. And, you know, that’s really an area where we are missing out on a lot of points because we’re not scoring when we have the advantage.
Poor Transition Play Killing Clippers Rebounding
What the Clippers have found is that their inability to score in transition has encouraged teams to keep offensive rebounders around the paint rather than—as they so often do in today’s NBA—sprint back on defense as soon as the shot goes up. Coaches are, generally, much more afraid of giving up fast-break points than they are desirous of taking the chance on offensive rebounding.
Not against the Clippers, though.
L.A. scores only 0.91 points per possession in transition, which ranks 29th in efficiency. The Clippers shoot a league-worst 45.1% on fast-break tries and commit turnovers on 13.8% of their transition possessions. That is sixth-worst in the NBA. It’s a bad combination.
As George mentioned, more and more teams have caught onto that lately, and the Clippers are allowing 11.7 offensive rebounds in their past seven games—a run during which they’ve gone 2-5.
“We haven’t had much practice time,” George said. “It’s just a lot of that where we are not on the same page. Whether we have good intentions, we are trying to think the same way but we just don’t—we haven’t had enough time to kind of practice and have those turnovers in practice, so we’re having those turnovers in games where we are just not on the same page. That’s really what it comes down to.”
George: ‘Not Time to Panic’
All in all, George sees the latest Clippers dry spell as nothing to be too concerned about. The Clippers started the season 1-4 after all, then went on a seven-game winning streak. George’s advice was to maintain an even keel.
“It’s not a time to panic,” he said. “We know we’re not playing well. But like I said, all of this is kind of self-inflicted, with our turnovers, starting with me. If we clean that up, we give ourselves a chance.”