With the Clippers jumping out to a fast 8-2 record this season with big wins over their cross-town archrival Los Angeles Lakers, it looked like the Clippers were one of the best teams to watch in basketball. Yet with four consecutive losses, the Clippers appear to be in their first funk of the season; their most recent two losses against Atlanta and New Orleans, two teams that have no business beating the Clippers this season.
Just as winning solves all problems in professional sports, losing causes them. The finger pointing has officially begun in Clipper nation with Blake Griffin tossing coach Vinny Del Negro under the buss. Griffin recently told the LA Daily News:
“I think we tried to change some things, tried to change our schemes and some things we have been successful at and that hurt us,” he said. “I think we should play teams how we play every team. We made adjustments down the stretch when certain guys hurt us and I think we should have stuck with what we had been doing and what has made us successful.”
Del Negro wasn’t backing down and told the LA Daily News that his big guys simply weren’t getting the job done, so he went with a smaller lineup to try and win. One of those bigs Del Negro was clearly targeting following the New Orleans loss was Griffin, who only had four points on 1-9 shooting on the night.
“(Jordan) wasn’t involved,” Del Negro said. “It wasn’t just ‘D.J.’ It was all of our big guys. They weren’t active. They weren’t physical. They didn’t set the tone for us from the start. It’s not just one guy. It’s everybody.”
Del Negro has also recently targeted Lamar Odom for needing to lose more weight and be more productive. His words weren’t sharp, but direct.
“I’m just trying to keep him engaged,” Del Negro said. “He knows he needs to play better. He’s lost some weight. He needs to lose more. I’m going to stick with him because in the long run he can give us something we need.”
It’s amazing how just four games ago Griffin thought Del Negro was a great coach and no one was harping on Odom’s lack of production. Four straight losses can change a lot in this league and the Clippers are going to have to weather these types of storms and stick together if they hope to prove they have what it takes to win in the playoffs.
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