Kawhi Leonard warned the Los Angeles Clippers “have to change” after they were made to pay by the Golden State Warriors for another second-half capitulation on Friday.
The Clippers held a commanding 85-63 lead with just over three minutes of the third quarter remaining at Chase Center, but slumped to a 115-105 defeat.
Steph Curry was their chief tormentor, scoring half of his 38 points in the third quarter to leave the Clippers 6-4 in the NBA Western Conference.
The Clippers have lost eight games when leading by at least 15 points since the start of last season, according to ESPN, letting more advantages by such a margin slip than any other team in that period.
Four-time NBA All-Star Leonard, who scored 24 points, said such collapses are unacceptable and must be addressed.
The small forward declared: “We just have to change, pretty much. We’ve got to change it. We’ve got to get better.”
He added: “I’m not about to tell you what we’re doing in the locker room. It’s locker room talk.”
Leonard felt the Clippers made it far too easy for the Warriors (5-4) to storm back and secure what appeared to be such an unlikely victory when they were so far behind.
“Our third quarter was terrible as far as defense. Them able to get easy looks, coming down just laying up the ball with no one there. Steph Curry did a few times.” said Leonard.
“In that third quarter, just guys coming down and getting either open looks or just walking to the basket and laying up the ball.”
Paul George, the Clippers’ highest scorer with 25 points as well as laying on seven assists, echoed Leonard’s sentiments.
He said: “We want to just be great as a unit, just demand greatness out of everybody. We’ve got to be better. All of us included. This was a team loss, more than anything. We’ve just got to get better. We’ll work on it.”
George added: “I think this is good that something like this happened for this team so early. Because fact of the matter is, we have to be a better closing-out team.”
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