After a quick 10-1 start to the season generated title buzz around the LA Clippers, a recent 2-5 stretch capped by Wednesday's 115-98 loss to the Warriors has re-established their position in the Western Conference behind Golden State and the San Antonio Spurs.
If the Clippers want to take that next step and challenge for a Finals appearance, journeyman center Marreese Speights says they need to buy into a team effort -- and stop focusing so much on the officiating.
"First we need to start really just leaving the refs alone," Speights said after Wednesday's loss, according to The Orange County Register. "Guys just got to sacrifice, do some other things than scoring, do some other things than your personal goals. Just try something new.
"They've been doing it here for four or five years and it hasn't been working, so it's time to try something new."
Speights spent the previous three seasons with the Warriors, winning an NBA title in 2014-15 and reaching the Finals last season. He said Wednesday was an example to the Clippers of how the Warriors share the ball, play team defense and put their opponents away.
"Tonight, they see it. They see everything I say," Speights said. "Everything I say in practice since I've been here, they see it. That's how [the Warriors] play."
Golden State set a dominant tone in the first quarter when they shot 56 percent. They erased the Clippers' one-point lead with a 28-9 run to lead 37-19.
Speights said the Warriors' game plan involved a quick start when they faced the Clippers.
"That's the scouting report when you play against the Clippers," he said. "It's always been, especially with the Warriors, you play against the Clippers, you hit them a couple of times and their spirit is going to be down. That's what happened, so we've just got to find a way to get over that hump."
Paul also acknowledged that things didn't go well Wednesday.
"Our spirit wasn't right," Paul said. "We gave them a lot of baskets. A team that shoots as well as they do, we can't give them points."
The teams are scheduled to meet three more times in the regular season, once in January and twice in February.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.