With 18 games to play, Clippers still trying to figure out who they are Thunder forward Kenrich Williams out for season due to wrist injury Report: Timberwolves hear talk but have no plans to trade Karl-Anthony Towns Three things to Know: Back home, Tatum breaks out of slump, outduels Mitchell PBT Podcast: Durant with Suns, Lillard with Blazers, song for Bulls

ANGELS – Sixty-four games in a season is too late for an identity crisis.

But an identity crisis—or rather, a lack of a permanent identity—is what sets these Clippers apart. What we said about them during the October pre-season is just as true with the March calendar: they have the talent to fight if they can just stay healthy and figure out how to play together.

This team had no storyline, the same constant questions with no good answers. Lineup changes, including the addition of Russell Westbrookwhich is now kicking off at the point – just added to the recent problems on the court as the guys figure out how to play with newer lineups and rotations.

This shows that the Clippers are 0-3 after the All-Star break. “It’s stressing me out,” Westbrook said after the Clippers’ last loss.

Westbrook wasn’t the problem. Not only has he been averaging 16 points and 9.3 assists per game since arriving, he has also been effective (64 percent shooting) and pretty much played the role of coach Tyronne Liu as asked.

“In a lot of ways, it’s like the perfect lineup for him,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “You know, they fielded a lot of spread lineups, they run to cover the 3-point line in transition and really open up early attacks where he is elite… It’s a pretty smooth transition for me.”

“He was great,” Liu said. “You know, I think the defense was really good and I was picking up the ball, hitting the paint and playing right. Like I said, he capped some of those early middle twos, and got Kawhi, PG, and those guys to open threes by hitting the paint.

However, Westbrook’s style and, in particular, his pace – which is what Liu wants – changes the way the Clippers play at their core, and this adaptation leads to errors.

On Tuesday, the Clippers had 25 passes in a loss to the Timberwolves, and in three games with Westbrook, they passed the ball with 18.3% of possessions (for context: the Jazz have passed the ball more than any team this season – 15.3 ). % of their property, and The Clippers averaged 10.9 assists per game.n Terence Mann ran the point in 20 games at a slower pace).

“When you want to be a good attacking team, you just can’t turn the ball that many times, it’s just too hard to recover,” Liu said. “I don’t care if you have Michael Jordan, Shaq, everyone on the floor, you flip the ball 25 times, it’s hard to win the game. We just need the guys to get used to playing with each other.”

The lack of chemistry manifests itself in other ways as well. On Tuesday, with just over a minute left and the Clippers down five, they needed a fast bucket, but the half-court set progressed slowly and became clear for Westbrook, not action, to deliver the ball. Kawhi Leonard or Paul Georgeor set them in isolation (their strength).

“These are situations where we needed to get better,” Liu said. “You know, these are the areas that we have told you about, be smart and make sure we make a good shot and who we want to pass the basketball to…

“It’s on me too because we didn’t have the opportunity to work late in the game. [situations] with the team that we have right now. But we have to understand, we have to be smart about who we want to pass the ball to and how we want to do it.”

Then there are security issues. Liu talked about late rotations, about a short man not getting to Rudy Gobert Quite fast on points Tuesday, and just a defense, where the guys were not on the string.

“We’re still not where we should be on the defensive,” George said. “For example, our defense is on the help side, our reduction in area, our one-on-one defense, our transitional defense, like we’re really bad defensively.”

Now the Clippers need what they don’t have: time. At 33-31, the Clippers are only polygames behind the start of the game, and their next six games are the Warriors, Kings, Grizzlies, Raptors, Knicks, and then the Warriors again. The Clippers have one of the busiest schedules in the league.

“We just need to keep drilling,” George said of the defense repair. “Keep training with new guys, new rotations, new staff. We just need to practice, once we get it, you know, we’ll be back to what we were doing before the break.”

Can they do it fast enough, that is the question.

Kenrich Williamswho came off the bench to a solid four for the Thunder is now out for the season with a wrist injury that will require surgery, the team announced.

From the official press release:

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today that guard/forward Kenrich Williams suffered a torn navicular semilunar ligament in his left wrist Tuesday during a game against the Sacramento Kings. The injury will require surgery and he is expected to miss the remainder of the 2022/23 season.

The navicular semilunar ligament is located in the middle of the wrist and is often referred to when the wrist is sprained. In this case, if the ligament is torn, surgery is required to repair it. This is something Williams needs to fully recover from, as do other players such as Bradley Beal And Jaylen Brown faced it before and came back, Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothing noted.

Williams is known for his fussiness and ability to grab the boards and make the right decisions when passing offensively. He averages 8 points and 4.9 rebounds per night in nearly 23 minutes per game, mostly from the bench. The best indicator of how much Williams means to the Thunder — and how much of a blow it is to their chances of advancing to the play-in — is that they outscore rivals by four points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court.

Williams signed a four-year, $27.2 million extension with the Thunder last summer, with his contract running through the summer of 2027.

Karl-Anthony TownsThe name appears on the list of superstar players that each team has that can be released and made available (through trade or free agency). It’s not that Townes asked or did anything to keep the conversation going, but he expressed his frustration and added Rudy Gobert it didn’t go quite as expected.

Other teams talk about him John Kravchinski of The Athletic told Zach Low on ESPN’s “Lowe Post” podcast.not yet the Timberwolves.

“Teams are already talking about it. There is no doubt that other teams are monitoring this situation and want to see if KAT becomes available.

“I can tell you from everyone I’ve talked to inside the organization, they have a lot of faith in CAT. They believe that once he returns, they will have time to think things over. [Anthony Edwards] and Gobert and CAT, they really believe that they can still work. Chris Finch believes in it. Tim Connelly believes in it. They have no plans to trade him. But if the bottom falls out of this thing and they go forward, teams will knock on the door.

Relax, Timberwolves fans. That’s how the NBA works. Teams are always looking for profitable players that they can poach from another team at a price below the market. Especially the stars. Towns missed a lot of time with a calf injury, but even before that, things were far from ideal in Minnesota due to the addition of Gobert and the growth of ANT.

Minnesota should not abandon this experiment just yet. However, if the next season starts and everything looks the same as this season,…


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