With his team facing enormous pressure to keep their season and title hopes alive, Ty Lue believes the LA Clippers will show what they’re made of in Game 3 on Friday in Dallas.
Trailing 2-0 after losing their home games to the Dallas Mavericks, the Clippers must stop a five-game playoff losing streak that stretches back to last postseason.
Lue said the Clippers will show who they really are by standing against the wall.
“Definitely,” Lue said. “I think when you’re down 2-0 and you step into another team’s arena, that shows what you’re made of. Our toughness throughout the year, just trusting, sticking together, this will show us tomorrow who we are and what we’re made of. So I’m excited to see it. “
While Lue and All-Star point guard Paul George said they weren’t worried after falling 2-0, the Clippers haven’t been able to live up to massive championship expectations and are looking at the possibility of another embarrassing playoff failure.
They blew an epic 3-1 series lead in the second round against the Denver Nuggets last year in the bubble. Determined to change the narrative around their postseason failure, the Clippers haven’t won a playoff game since Game 4 against Denver. The Clippers are the only team in the past 30 playoffs to lose five straight playoff games as a favorite, according to ESPN Stats and Information data.
And the Clippers could be without veteran center Serge Ibaka due to back spasms that made him sore Thursday morning, according to Lue.
With or without Ibaka, the Clippers need to come in with the right mindset in Game 3.
“Urgency is the right word,” Lue said. “Pressure or panic, I don’t believe in that … [Los Clippers tienen que] understand the urgency and understand what we are trying to do and basically everyone is on the same page. That is the most important thing to me. But like I said, we are ready to go. We already cleaned some things that we need to clean. “
The Clippers entered the Playoffs without playing their best basketball, choosing to rest players at the end of the regular season. They have looked out of sync and bewildered on defense. Last year, the Clippers managed the Mavericks in six games in the first round, but Lue’s defense has yet to show up in the postseason. Dallas is shooting 50% from 3-point arc and Luka Doncic is averaging 35 points, 9.0 assists and 8.5 rebounds in his second postseason against the Clippers. Role players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson and Josh Richardson have also hurt the Clippers in the fourth quarter of the first two losses.
And the Clippers have also started the first two games giving up 33 and 35 points in the opening quarters, respectively.
Lue made it clear that the Clippers must be a more physical team in Texas this weekend if they are to make this a series.
“Swing,” Lue said when asked how the Clippers responded after being punched in the mouth by the Mavericks in Los Angeles. “You can’t hit back if you don’t swing … We have to put in a physical game. They’ve definitely been the most physical team, and I don’t know why that’s because we talked about it. So to throw a punch, you have to swing. “.
“We have to be more physical, we have to swing and we have to go out and hit and we can’t stay down in the first quarter. We have to be better defensively to start the game. We are very aware of that, and now we have to go out and execute it. “.