LA Clippers’ stars know team not currently elite

first_img“We’ve won games we should have won, but we have to be better than that if we expect to be a playoff (team) and contend.”Scouting the ThunderOklahoma City will enter Monday’s game with a record of 18-9 and a winner of seven of its past eight. The Thunder are led by the two-headed monster of point guard Russell Westbrook and small forward Kevin Durant.Westbrook is averaging 25.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 9.5 assists. Durant is averaging 27.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists.UpcomingAfter Monday, the Clippers won’t play again until Christmas night when they face the Lakers, the home team for that game. The Clippers will then play at Utah on Saturday, at Washington on Dec. 28, at Charlotte on Dec. 30 and at New Orleans on New Year’s Eve. Twenty-eight games into the season, and the Clippers are still without a defining victory. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul – the team’s two stars – know it, too. Both were hard on the team following its 107-97 loss Saturday at Houston, the second leg of a Texas two-step in which the Clippers lost a night earlier at San Antonio.“We’re not a team that anybody needs to worry about, not right now,” said Paul, whose team plays host to Oklahoma City on Monday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. “I think we still have a lot of work to do. Being how our team was last year, we are behind, as far as figuring out that trust and stuff like that, so we just have to keep building.”The thing that keeps Paul sane is he knows the talent is there for the Clippers to be one of the elite teams.“It is somewhat frustrating, but the thing about it is, there are a lot of teams right now that, realistically, they don’t have a chance,” said Paul, who scored 12 points Saturday on just 3-of-13 shooting; the team fell behind 43-17 early in the second quarter. “For us, the toughest part is just knowing what we are capable of and if we figure it out, we can be dangerous.” The Clippers (16-12) have two victories over Detroit, one each over Dallas, Memphis and Orlando. Those are the only wins over teams currently over .500, but three of the five came during the first 2 1/2 weeks of the season, which is now nearly two months old.The Clippers have lost twice to Golden State, to San Antonio, Indiana, Chicago and Toronto. They have now lost twice to Houston as well – once at Staples Center, once at Toyota Center in Houston – and the Rockets are only .500 at 14-14.Golden State and San Antonio have the Nos. 1 and 2 top records in the league and Chicago, Indiana and Toronto are all in the top five in the Eastern Conference standings.Griffin understands what’s going on.“We have a lot of room for improvement and I’m not really into giving grades, but we have a lot of room to improve in a lot of different areas,” he said. “There is nothing really to be happy about. We haven’t won any big games, any games that when you go into them, you think this is one we have to get; but we’ve lost all those games.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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