Struggling Clippers lose in blowout to Pacers, falling to fifth in West

Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook (0) controls the ball against Indiana Pacers.

Clippers guard Russell Westbrook controls the ball in front of Indiana‘s Tyrese Haliburton (0) and Jalen Smith during the Clippers’ loss Monday at Arena. (William Liang / Associated Press)

Tyronn Lue’s Clippers have been baffling because they’ve been plagued by inconsistent play despite having such a talented group led by stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

The Clippers’ coach tried to explain why his team has struggled with repeated mistakes and mental breakdowns in recent weeks.

“We’re a .500 basketball team,” Lue said.

Lue spoke a real truth — the Clippers are 5-5 in their last 10 games. And things weren’t going to be any easier Monday against an Indiana Pacers team that led the NBA in scoring (123.1 points per game), and field-goal percentage (50.6%).

Read more: Clippers’ loss to 76ers puts more stress on their home playoff plans

The Clippers once again showed how average they’ve become this month, losing to the Pacers 133-116 at Arena to fall to fifth place in the Western Conference. The Clippers and the fourth-seeded Pelicans have identical records (44-27), but New Orleans holds the tiebreaker after winning the season series 3-1.

Trailing by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter, the Clippers couldn’t rally and fell to 7-7 in March. They’ll try to get their season back on track when they open a four-game trip against Chicago on Wednesday.

Leonard and George each scored 26 points. Russell Westbrook, who sat out three weeks recovering from surgery to repair a fractured left hand, provided a burst of much-needed energy, finishing with 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds in 18 minutes.

Pascal Siakam led Indiana (41-32) with 31 points and Myles Turner had 24 points and seven rebounds.

“Talent says a lot of things,” Lue said before the game. “We’re just going through a tough time right now. So, I feel confident. You might be baffled, but you’re not in the locker room. It don’t really matter. But for our guys, we feel confident. We take care of what we take care of and wins will start piling up. We have the talent. … We are good enough.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.