James Harden says struggling Clippers want ‘to seek out our identification’

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was emphatic along with his phrases. “We’re smooth.”

That was Lue’s response when requested about James Harden saying the Clippers “received to seek out our identification,” after a 133-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday that dropped the Clippers to fifth place within the Western Convention.

Lue has heard it earlier than — Paul George stated the identical factor after the Clippers misplaced to the Atlanta Hawks on March 17.

Once more, Lue disagreed along with his two stars, and he wasn’t afraid to say so in a long-winded reply.

“Proper now do we now have an identification? Um, I believe, yeah, we’re smooth. That may be an identification, if you wish to name it that,” Lue stated. “Like, we received to be harder, mentally and bodily. However we do have an identification. After we had been 26-5, we had an ideal identification. So, you possibly can’t choose and select once you need to lead. You’ll be able to’t choose and select once you’re going to have an identification. You’ll be able to’t choose and select once you need to do issues the appropriate manner. So, simply do the appropriate issues each night time and every thing else will fall so as.

“And, so, sure, we do have an identification. We received to get again to that, as a result of we’ve had it. However once you lose video games, it’s straightforward to go the opposite manner and we’re not going to try this and I’m not going to let our group do this. And I’m tough-minded. I’ve been via every thing, and so have these guys. … So, we now have an identification, however proper now our identification has been shaken as a result of we’re not profitable and we’re not doing issues the appropriate manner persistently.”

Trailing by as many as 23 factors within the fourth quarter, the Clippers couldn’t rally and fell to 7-7 in March. They’ll attempt to get their season again on observe once they open a four-game journey in opposition to Chicago on Wednesday.

“Groups are scoring straightforward on us. It makes it troublesome to attain offensively,” Harden stated.

The Clippers and the fourth-seeded Pelicans have equivalent information (44-27), however New Orleans holds the tiebreaker after profitable the season sequence 3-1.

“It’s just a little irritating,” stated Harden, who had 11 factors on three-for-seven taking pictures. “It’s irritating … I believe we’re all making an attempt to determine what’s occurring.”

Kawhi Leonard and George every scored 26 factors. Russell Westbrook, who sat out three weeks recovering from surgical procedure to restore a fractured left hand, supplied a burst of much-needed vitality, ending with 14 factors, seven assists and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes.

“I imply, it’s not one factor you possibly can pinpoint it on,” stated Westbrook concerning the Clippers’ struggles. “I believe collectively we simply received to come back collectively throughout powerful instances. Adversity to me is an actual measure of who you’re as a person and, two, who you’re as a group. And I believe now is an ideal time for us to have the ability to pull collectively, use what we all know to win video games and use ourselves to assist one another out to shut video games and win video games.”

Lue is giving his gamers a brand new concept to concentrate on over the ultimate 11 video games of the common season.

“We at all times speak about ‘sacrifice.’ However I simply informed the fellows I’m eliminating that phrase,” he stated. “Such as you guys (within the media) say, ‘effort.’ I’m eliminating sacrifice and calling it funding. Like, investing within the group, investing in what we have to do to win video games. It’s not going to be about you. It’s not going to be about how you probably did. It’s about what the group does. So, as a substitute of claiming sacrifice, (it’s) investing.”

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