Last season's Los Angeles Clippers were extremely talented, but they were never a team in the true sense of the word. The way they collapsed in the playoffs, where they blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets, and subsequent reports about dysfunction in the locker room made that clear.
Even after some major changes in the offseason, it seemed like there were still some issues for them to work through. They lost by 51 points to the Dallas Mavericks in their third game, and a few weeks later blew a 22-point lead to the Golden State Warriors. Following that loss, Kawhi Leonard said they "have to change," while Paul George added, "we got to be better."
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To their credit, it appears they've followed through. Since that loss to the Warriors, they've won four straight, including a 33-point win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night. And the improvements haven't just come in the form of better results, Multiple players praised newfound chemistry, including George and Marcus Morris Sr.
"I feel like our energy is way better this season," Morris said after the win over the Pacers. "Think guys are buying in. We kind of felt let down last year. And the first thing we did before we got together was we let that s--- go. It's a new season; it's a new team."
"The chemistry is amazing," George added. "It's a real bond. It's fun, with this team, it's locked in, we are together; it is one of the best locker rooms I have been around and been in. Hopefully, you guys see it, just how well we are meshing. We are going to continue to build off of that; we like where we are at and like where we are heading, and we want to see this thing play all the way through."
That's certainly great to hear, and you would hope that would be the case. They added some new pieces to the mix, and the core has had more time to grow together both on and off the court. However, it's easy to say this and be all happy when you're winning every game.
We know the Clippers are a very good team, but we also know they haven't always responded super well to adversity. The next challenge for them will be maintaining this positivity and improved chemistry when things aren't going perfectly on the court. If they can do that, it will be a real sign that things are in fact different from last year.