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Blake Griffin.

3 reasons why it's time for the Los Angeles Clippers to hit the panic button

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The Los Angeles Clippers started the season 4-0, inspiring hope that perhaps they'd be fine after trading star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets this offseason.

However, since that hot start, Los Angeles has been playing uninspired basketball, following up their 4-0 start with a 1-8 stretch.

Currently, coach Doc Rivers' squad is mired in a six-game losing streak and face some tough upcoming games that won't make winning easy.

The Clippers aren't too far out of the Western Conference playoff picture yet, and it's only been 13 games, but there are still a few concerning signs in L.A. right now.

Therefore, especially when considering the improvements several teams in the West made this offseason, it's time for the Clippers to be a bit concerned about their postseason prospects.

Here are three big reasons the Clippers should be hitting the panic button right about now:

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers

They're 28th in assists

When the Clippers got off to their hot start, it looked as though perhaps they wouldn't miss Chris Paul as much as they thought.

However, as the season has worn on, it's become painfully obvious that no one on the Clippers is capable of setting up teammates with easy shots, as Los Angeles ranks 28th out of 30 NBA teams with a measly 19.2 assists per game.

In fact, Griffin leads the team with 4.7 assists a night. It's never a good sign when a power forward leads the team while averaging less than five dimes a game.

If guards like Patrick Beverley and Austin Rivers don't step up their games, the Clippers' offense will continue to struggle.

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers

They face a long East Coast road trip

After Monday night's home loss to a competitive Philadelphia 76ers team, the Clippers hit the road for a long five-game road trip that will take them to Cleveland, Charlotte, New York, Atlanta and Sacramento before their next home game on Nov. 27.

For a struggling team, a long trip to a different time zone is about the last thing you want to have on the schedule.

If the Clippers are going to dig themselves out of this hole they've put themselves into, they're going to have to do it far away from home against some tough Eastern Conference squads.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven

Their defense has taken a step back

Last year, the Clippers gave up 103.9 points per game. So far this year, that average has jumped a bit to 105.8 points a night.

The Clippers still have DeAndre Jordan guarding the rim at the back end of their defense, so something else is causing the team's struggles on that end of the floor. Again, that can likely be traced back to CP3, who was a great defender from the guard position and frequently among the league leaders in steals.

Patrick Beverley is a good defender, but he'll have to make more of an impact as time goes on, otherwise the Clippers will continue to struggle.

Topics:
NBA
Chris Paul
LA Clippers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA Playoffs
Blake Griffin
NBA Draft

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