Slow Start Once Again Dooms the Clippers

Something obviously needs to change in terms of how the Clippers are preparing for their games. Because for the second consecutive contest, L.A. got off to a dismal start in the first quarter, and put themselves in a hole that they were unable to dig out of as they fell 92-90 in Sacramento to the Kings.

During Sunday's blowout loss to the Mavericks, L.A. was down by 11 after a first quarter where they managed to score just 13 points. Things were actually worse for them in Sacramento, where the team scored just 12 first quarter points on their way to a 15-point deficit after one.

The Clippers slowly clawed their way back, and ended up losing by a single bucket. The team had good looks down the stretch, but went scoreless over the last three minutes of the game, which is something Mike Dunleavychalked up to fatigue from having to battle back from the team's slow start.

"We got off to a bad start and dug ourselves a hole that we had to climb out of and spend a lot of energy," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had some great looks down the stretch that we just didn't make to win the ballgame."

The obvious is something that is not lost on coach Dunleavy. Another point that should be obvious to everyone is the fact that there's something very wrong with Baron Davis. He continued his atrocious shooting with a 3-17 effort against the Kings, and by the looks of things, there's no end in sight. Davis is not this bad of a shooter: he shot 43 percent from the field his last two seasons, although he's been in the high 20s to low 30s for about the last month or so.

With Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman out with injuries, the Clippers simply can't expect to win with Davis shooting like this. Even though they got some nice performances from Paul Davis (18 points as a starter), Eric Gordon (24 points) and Marcus Camby (24 rebounds!), the combination of the poor start and the overall lack of firepower made it too difficult to get the win. Even against a Kings team that was beaten by 45 points at home just a couple of days ago.

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