Russell Westbrook, Clippers trying to find their rhythm

Who is to blame?

The pundits and so-called experts on social media draw a direct line from the Clippers’ 0-3 record since the All-Star break to Russell Westbrook’s arrival.

Yet, the point guard has largely played within his game since joining the Clippers, focusing on getting the ball into the hands of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the centers. He has 28 assists, 48 points and 17 rebounds. He also has 13 turnovers, including seven of the Clippers’ 25 in their 108-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Still, he took responsibility for not only his play but for getting others involved.

“Just got to be better, you know,” Westbrook said. “I got to be better, starting with myself, just setting the tone, got to finally get a win. It starts with me, make sure I’m better for these guys, make sure I’m better all around. I’ll be better next time.”

Who’s to blame?

Can’t pin the blame on injuries or injury management. The Clippers will have a full roster for the second time on Thursday against the Golden State Warriors with center Ivica Zubac back on the court after missing two of the three games because of a calf injury. Leonard has played more than 30 minutes per game in his past 20 contests, while George continues to push the limits of any minute restriction that he was on.

“I mean we just got to continue to drill it,” George said. “We have new guys here, new rotations, new personnel, so we’ve just got to drill it. … Once we get it, we’ll get back to what we were doing before the break (when the Clippers won 10 of 14 games).”

So, who is to blame?

A deeper dive into the team’s recent play points to several areas, starting with 63 total turnovers and a faulty defense. The Clippers have given up 498 points in their past three games.

There also is Marcus Morris Sr.’s dwindling offensive production, questionable substitutions late in the two overtime losses, and three other new players – Eric Gordon, Bones Hyland and Mason Plumlee – who are still learning the ins and outs of Coach Tyronn Lue’s system.

Lue took the blame for all of that, saying it was his job to get the team headed in the right direction, and that includes keeping Morris engaged offensively. He was 7 for 17 from the field in the three losses.

“We all got to be better, making sure I put the ball in the right guys’ hands in the right moments and then understanding what we are running and execution-wise,” Lue said. “I take responsibility every night whether it’s my fault or not. I take responsibility because if we’re not playing well then, it’s on me.”

Part of the problem could be the team’s depth. Lue is trying to balance minutes and juggle rotations, which is leading to uneven play and more turnovers. He said all players want to score, be creative and contribute, but that’s not what the Clippers need right now.

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“If you watched our last two games, we scored 300 points in two games,” Lue said. “So (we need to) just be taking what the defense gives you, not rushing, not playing frantically. Just taking our time.

“That’s going to come, but, like I said, guys were trying to do a little too much just to try to stay on the floor when you have this deep of a team.”

Lue said his biggest task in the final 18 regular-season games will be getting the team to do the “right things offensively and just be solid.”

“No home run plays, spinning, and behind-the-back passes,” Lue added. “Like those are things you got to eliminate because it’s going to be 10-11 turnovers because other teams are playing good defense. But 25 turnovers, that’s just, that’s way too many.”


When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco

TV/Radio: TNT, 570 AM

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