Clippers Ready For Lakers, Season


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –
Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro has a decidedly different approach to preseason basketball than his Los Angeles Lakers’ counterpart.

While Mike Brown isn’t worried about his team’s 0-6 preseason record, Del Negro demands that his crew treat every dress rehearsal like the real thing.

“You get paid to play and you get paid to win, I don’t care if it’s exhibition or not, you have to compete,” Del Negro told reporters after Monday night’s win over the Golden State Warriors. “If you’re not willing to compete and put it out there, you’re not a competitive person and those are not the type of people I want around here. … I understand it’s an exhibition game but when you play your minutes, play the right way so we can get better. If you don’t want to, you can come sit with me.”

Both sides will have main players sitting with the coaches when the Clippers and Lakers square off tonight (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV). Lakers star Kobe Bryant is set to rest his sore foot and Del Negro has talked about resting his starters for the preseason version of the Staples Center Classic.

That means tonight’s game could turn into a battle of the benches, and that’s one fight where the deeper Clippers’ appear to have an advantage over their city rivals. A roll call of the Clippers’ reserves — Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes, Eric Bledsoe, Ronny Turiaf, Willie Green, Ryan Hollins and Chauncey Billups (who will return from a torn Achilles tendon sometime next month or in December) — highlights an explosive supporting cast of talented players all capable of playing multiple positions.

They are playing without Hill, Odom and Billups right now, all three are nursing or recovering from injuries, and still producing at a high level.

As Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com points out, depth is one problem these Clippers won’t have this season:

“We have like a second-and-a-half unit,” Barnes said. “We really have a very deep team and once we get everybody healthy and at full steam at practice, it’s going to be great.”

The biggest offseason splashes for the Clippers came early in the signing period as they traded for Odom and signed Crawford and Hill and picked up Hollins, Turiaf and Willie Green. The signing of Barnes was the last move the team made before the start of training camp but has been paying the biggest dividends in the preseason.

Barnes had a game-high 22 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the Clippers’ loss to Utah last week and had 11 points, six rebounds and two steals in a win over the Miami Heat in China. He also has made presence felt as an enforcer when he nearly got into a fight with Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll when Carroll tried to get in Barnes’ face after a hard foul.

“I talked to the whole team that we fear nobody,” Barnes said. “Teams need to fear us because of our depth and talent. We can’t be awed by anybody. We can’t allow our guys to get beat up. We just have to clean all that up.”

Barnes, who lockered down the hallway at Staples Center last season with the Lakers, seems to personify the Clippers’ revamped bench mob. He’s always been more than willing to serve as the feisty member of whatever team he’s on.

The Lakers would win anyone’s battle of marquee starters. Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace could win that five-on-five over just about any other starting five in basketball anywhere on the planet.

But the Clippers’ are up to the challenge in a game that includes full rosters, and we all know that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Co. have been gearing up since last season for another shot at not only bragging rights in the arena and the Southland, but in the Western Conference standings, too.

In a season that most people figured would be all about the Lakers, the Clippers just might have a little something to say about that …

32 Comments

  1. two or three times says:

    in recent years the Lakers lost all or most pre-season – the most recent time i 2008-2009 they lost all pre-season games and went on to win NBA Championship. The takeaway? Any fool – like Del Negro – can thump his chest about how good his team looks pre-season. How many championships rings can Del Negro attest to? How many have the Clippers won? I call B$ and trash talk from a team that likes to get all up in people’s faces but falls short when the pressure of NBA Playoffs hit. Whole lotta hot air from Clipperville is all i see.

  2. Kobe Bryant says:

    LOL.Funny How They Compare Clips To Lakers
    Miami W/ No Bench=2012 Champions
    Lakers W/ Jamison=2013 Champions?
    Seriously Clips? Miami Won The Finals W/O A Bench.
    LA Went To The Playoffs With Smush Parker,Kwame Brown,Chris Mihm.FTW

  3. uoykcuf says:

    maybe they should start to win at least one game before claiming the title, so far winless!

  4. The real question is will this be Chris Paul’s last season in L.A. do to the emergence of Eric Bledsoe??

    The kid looks crazy good and deserves more minutes.

  5. KOBEshigawa says:

    Well, it’s a new story for a preason preview for the Clips to be anything but pessimistic, but I’m a little confused about this team. They’re going to be very good, but there’s too many personnel questions. What’s the 10 man rotation? Who else can create shots that not an ill-advised Jamal Crawford 30 footer? Is Odom washed up? Same for Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups? Can Vinnie del Negro, who was almost fired last Feb, avoid the same controversey this year? Unlike the Lakers, I don’t think that the Clips have enough talent to rise past these questions and become a contender – http://thegreatmambino.blogspot.com/2012/10/los-angeles-clippers-season-preview-has.html

  6. DHAM says:

    MAN I CAN SEE IT COMING THE CLIPS ARE DEFINETLY DEEPER THAN THE LAKERS, THEY GOT A BALANCE OF YOUTH AND EXPEIRIENCE, THEY COULD BE TAKING OVER L.A. AND COMPETING WITH OKC FOR THE WESTERN CONFERENCE TITLE.

  7. clovia77 says:

    clippers had a bunch of injuries last year, and had one less win. lakers will win maybe 1 of the 4 games this season.

  8. clovia77 says:

    clippers had a bunch of injuries and ended with one less win. lakers will be lucky to win one of the 4 this season.

  9. W/E says:

    laker fans should pray D12 stays healthy the whole year cause they got zero chance getting past the first round of the playoffs without him..

  10. Seeing how the Lakers bench played this preseason, I dont think they can win it all. The bench is so inconsistent. THEY BETTER PICK UP THEIR GAME. The bench let too many games get away from the Lakers. Yes its preseason but still…The bench SHOULD be TRYING in preseason. IMO Lakers bench has always been trash since their back2back titles

  11. Karlo Garcia says:

    I really believe its Clippers time this year b/c they r deeper in terms of depth.

  12. CP3toStayinLA says:

    Overall, the Clips have a better team. True the Lakers have a nearly perfect starting 5, but if the Clips are healthy all year, they will take the Pacific Conference and could make it to the finals.

    The Clippers are gonna be scary good this year!

  13. rj says:

    Clipper fans are excited about a damn preseason game? Haha wow, thats pathetic and it shows they only have bandwagon fans. As a long time LAL fan im not worried one bit. Honestly the lakers in the past have gone 0-6 in preseason and that was the start of a 3 peat. Lakers will OWN the clippers everytime they meet in the regular season. Laker fans that dont worry about preseason know that the Best is comming once the season starts. Clipps can talk trash now, but once the season starts its a different story.

  14. Mac says:

    can someone please tell me the lineups for tonights game?

  15. Tikolo says:

    Ok guys let the season begins. We all can be speculating all we want, but the game is played on the basjketball court and most times the best team wins. The lakers have a good team but that don’t mean nothing because we don’t even know if the chemistry will work. Time to play ball lets stop the bs

  16. catchy generic name says:

    Laker fans better hope for no starter injuries
    Because their bench (maybe with injured Blake’s exception) is worthless(might as well call it 4 on five basketballif one started gets injured)
    And their starters are gona have a huge mess to clean up everytime their secound unit gets masacred by the clipper’s 2nd unit (maybe even 3rd? hollins is an emerging beast)
    Id like to thank the lakers for Barnes too :)

  17. ClipCast says:

    BIG NIGHT TONIGHT!! Last season’s Clippers Lakers preseason matchup was the most watched NBA preseason game ever. Clips swept em in the preseason last year and will clean their clocks again tonight! Let’s go Clippers Let’s go!

  18. joe says:

    we’ll see. If there was ever a clipper team that could supplant the lakers as the LA top dogs, it’s this one.

    • Marco29 says:

      They will need everybody to be healthy but their roster is definitely deeper than LAL’s. It could make a difference during a full season and to make a long playoff run. What happens if one member of LAL’s starting five gets hurt or plays on one foot? The battle between the 2 teams will be interesting and I am not sure there is a clear advantage for one or the other team. It is rather close.

  19. 16going417 says:

    I’m a Lakers fan, but seeing how the Lakers second unit continues to give it away I’m not sure the Lakers starting five can carry the team the WHOLE year and be ready for playoff time. Lakers bench needs to PROVE they can bring it and so far they have shown us NOTHING!!!!

    The Lakers went for the win against the Kings on the 21st and did not get it. If they can’t beat the Kings what makes you think they can beat OKC, the Heat or the Clips? At 0 and 6 they are even behind the Bobcats in preseason standings. You can “claim” preseason does not count, but Coach Del Negro has it right. You get paid to play and you BETTER play EVERY time you step on the court, preseason or not.

    • don dotta says:

      agree with the bench comment,

      dont agree with the pre-season score…not a big deal, unless you want an incident like when Thibodeau had D Rose play.

    • Game Time says:

      I agree, although I’m not sure as if I believe you to be a Laker fan. You’re comment just makes too much sense for me to accept that.

    • uoykcuf says:

      i don’t believed you are a laker fan. Most laker fan doesn’t have simple logic. Mindless drones kept saying title, title, title.
      Win one game, show the world what you can do.

  20. Game Time says:

    And the 1st people to comment on a this article are…worried Laker fans LMAO!

    • eyyynow says:

      Say whatever makes you sleep easier at night son cause aint a reason for the Lakers to be scared this season haha NEVER SCARED HO

  21. KOBE #1 FAN says:

    Thats right

  22. CrazyT says:

    Greg Pop is the greatest coach alive. I think Metta should eat his fried spinach and do the electric slide while dancing on James Brown tombstone.

    GET ON THA GOOD FOOT!