Paul’s Words After Loss Could Raise Pressure On Clips’ Del Negro

It was, and will end up being, one of the more dizzying games of the season. Caron Butler making nine 3-pointers and the Clippers losing. The Hornets, down their two best players, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis, winning. A career-low four points for Blake Griffin. The Clippers making just one more two-point shot (19) than from behind the arc (18). And New Orleans, a lottery team even at full strength, on the road on the second night of a back-to-back and still getting better bench play than one of the deepest teams in the league.

And afterward things got really good.

Chris Paul, as quoted by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register, said Los Angeles lost to “a less-talented team that was well-coached.” Shots fired.

On one hand, Paul may not have intended to run over his own coach, Vinny Del Negro, then back up and run over Del Negro again by complimenting the opposing coach, Monty Williams. Paul may simply have intended to praise his former coach from their days together in New Orleans. It could have been pro-Williams without being anti-Del Negro.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter.

Del Negro is already facing enough much-deserved scrutiny. Now Paul’s comment will only increase it. Paul’s words will be interpreted by many as the star point guard, in the final season of his contract, putting his coach in a bad light.

With a lot of other teams at other times, a player so much as appearing to pull the chair from under a coach — whether the actual intention or not — could be explained away as over-analyzing a deserved compliment for Williams. But this is about the Clippers in win-now mode yet being unable, again, to harness a championship-hopeful’s focus. It is also about Donald T. Sterling.

While a lot of owners ignore popularity contests to guide personnel decisions and go with the opinions of the basketball-ops staff, Sterling has spent decades trying to win the press conference. He famously asks security guards and ushers at the arena, media, fans, anyone, for advice in solving the Problem of the Day. Not because he is making conversation. Because he will make major decisions based on the subsequent approval rating.

Sterling has been known to care more about what his friends think than what his general manager thinks. So Paul stoking the many fans who have been hoping for Del Negro’s departure will be read as CP3 saying something along the lines of “If only we were well-coached.” Paul didn’t have to mean it that way. What matters in the Sterling universe is that it looks that way.

One thing about Del Negro continuing to catch heat, though. If he gets the blame for all performances like last night’s — such as those seen in a loss to the Warriors, a loss to the Cavaliers, a loss to the Hawks and a loss to the Hornets — he should get the credit for beating the Spurs twice and the Heat, Lakers and Bulls before the first full month is complete. There has been some good, after all. However Paul meant it.

48 Comments

  1. BrooklynBrooklyn says:

    Coaches watches the films and puts the game plan together for the players. They make player adjustments during the games with the players that they have on the team. Mrs. Lamar Kardashians Odom is out of shape, can he even play anymore? To me, he is the game changer, he’s the one player off the bench that others teams don’t have. Look at his stat line against the Hornets. Lazy and no effort. Anyways, any players who are making millions of dollars cannot blame anybody else but themselves. Next time, the million dollar players should just play harder, give more effort and execute the game plan that coaches give them. Especially Mrs. Lamar Kardashians. Wasn’t he a former sixth man of the year? Isn’t CP3 the best point guard in the league that makes his teammates better? I thought DJ was one of the most athletic big man in the league? Isn’t Blake Griffin arguably one of the best PF today? Even with all this talent on the team, its still the coaches fault. NBA million dollars players needs to look at themselves in the mirror, stop making excuses for their struggles. Shut up and just stay focus on working.

  2. Fort Leonard Wood head fan says:

    will be perfect for Phil Jackson come here and prove he can really coach and take over this franchise and lead them to the finals (and get beat by the heat off course).

  3. Jasmoove says:

    yeah and what the hell Blake shooting jump shots all day long he was suppose to be at the post every game

    • Can't Please Everyone says:

      People said all Blake could do was park himself in the paint and dunk everything. Now that he is stepping out of the paint and taking jumpers, he’s getting criticized for doing the very thing people wanted to see him do. He’s been improving his jumper and must take some of those shots during the game, not just in practice, so he can gain confidence and rhythm. As he gets better, you are going to be seeing him all over the court, not just in the paint. So get familiar with the sight.

  4. Mager Zakaria says:

    “a less-talented team that was well-coached.” Does anybody not know how to read English. He said “a less-talented team that was well-coached,” not lost to a team that was BETTER coached. At the end of the day the Clippers are at the top of the conference and still have high playoff hopes quite contrary to New Orleans. Let’s not make a big issue about such a small thing, cmon.

  5. hahahahaha….. PAUL? 3rd? hahahaha…. 1st: LBJ 2nd: KD 3rd:D12 4th:CP3 5th:ROSE.. PLEASE GET YOUR INFO. RIGHT

  6. AMB says:

    The only thing that pisses me off is saying New Orleans with healthy both Davis and Gordon would still be a lottery team. Sure, we saw only 9 games with EJ an 6 with the Brow as a Hornets, but they were pretty efficient, and with the help of Vasquez (a.k.a. 2011 Christmas Present from Memphis), improved Aminu, great season from Anderson and good, defensive-minded coach Williams, they would have a shot at playoffs. But Eric had to start whining and ruin everything :P

  7. The Hound says:

    Phil Jackson is to expensive for the clippers haha

  8. dain0191 says:

    Obama for LA

  9. Ed says:

    So the most overrated PG in the league whines about his no name coach not being a Pop or Phil. Sorry CP3, but perhaps you and your even more blatantly overrated PF should step it up instead of playing the blame game. I distinctly remember a few nights ago when you had a dud game and clearly lost the game for your team, despite crying and displaying poor leadership on the sidelines. All while mic’d up for everyone at home to hear. I really liked the Clippers as a fall back team to root for, but not anymore. Should have gone to play with Kobe after all. Divas need each other.

    • Common Sense says:

      You are a very angry person. You probably hate all the wealthy people in your neighborhood too!
      a. CP3 never asked for a new coach
      b. Was a professional and said that the other team was well coached
      c. Every time CP3 has a bad game he says he had a bad game
      d. CP3 whines less than EVERY player in the NBA. Others may whine just as little as CP3 but none less than he.
      e. Blatantly overrated PF? Are you serious. Show me anyone else that was this good in their 3rd NBA season that wasn’t blown up in the media
      f. poor leadership? wow, a survey by all coaches in the NBA said that CP3 was the best coach on the floor. PERIOD.
      g. When CP3 lost that game the other day, he hung his head for missing the jumper at the buzzer, he didn’t blame anyone but himself.
      h. By the way, nobody, and no team wants your back up cheering. Clipper fans are like Blazers fans, they are diehard, true fans that cheer for there team through and through, even when there’s no love from the media. Go cheer for your team.
      i. Although I don’t care about your Kobe is a diva comment, let’s be honest. Diva’s are the ones that get the media attention. Lebron, Wade, Kobe, Melo, get the media attention. If you want to call them Divas go ahead but like I said, you probably hate all the rich people in your neighborhood.
      Cheers!

  10. cabral says:

    4 me it has nothing to do with being well-coached or not, it’s all about egos, they gotta blame someone
    it’s not a coach fault if players such as blake are not in a good nite for any reason
    if everytime a team loses to a so called inferior team a coach loses his job teams will have to start thinking about who rules the team, coaches or super star players
    let CP3 coach the team for a week and let’s see what he can do, he’s a player therefore his job is to play period

  11. Larian1983 says:

    This is not about the Lakers, it seems so many Clippers fans still don’t understand. It’s just funny how Clippers fans want Phil Jackson now, with CP3 at the point, Clipper fans want to run triangle offense, way to fail guys, I guess bandwagoners don’t know basketball.

    • Common Sense says:

      These comments aren’t from Clipper fans. These are Lakers fans that like commenting about the other team. We(as an LA fan, including the CLIPPERS) don’t want Jackson. We want consistency. Paul simply is saying he respects his old coach, and has nothing but love for NO. We don’t need a new coach we need to go for wins. This team had it’s first year last year with no training camp. This is the first year with a training camp and was excited. Now they are losing which is GREAT! This is where great teams separate from good team. Adversity is where teams advance. Let’s see if the clippers can go from Good to Great, but the coach can stay.

    • Game Time says:

      Larian you’re a joke! Clippers have had fans for a long time despite being a losing team. Yeah, those are real bandwagoners huh?

  12. Hater Much? says:

    At the very least, I’m sure Blake knows how to spell very basic words, unlike you. So make better use of your time instead of sitting there, criticizing these players. Jordan and Griffin are young players and they have time to get better, which they are already showing signs of. Seriously, this is Blake’s third season; one of which was a shortened season because of the lockout with no real training camp. People like you act like they’ve been in the league for 15 years and still don’t know how to play at the NBA level. If they didn’t or at least have the potential to, they wouldn’t be in the league or have been drafted at all in the first place. Jordan and Griffin’s huge contract extensions, despite their limited skills, shows that they see potential in them, no matter your personal opinion of their play.

  13. whoami says:

    i think del negro is fine as a coach, but jerry sloan or stan van gundy wld make a better fit for the clippers

  14. Finally cp3 is speaking his mind… The clips r way talented to have breakdown like this but they def need a good coach…. Ppl just relax because good teams will loose some game against worst teams and that’s nothing new….
    Gooo heats!
    Gaaaaah!

  15. chuck says:

    this article is spinning his words SO MUCH… get something to actually write about instead of trying to create drama

  16. CP3toStayinLA says:

    Clippers need to play hard-nose defense and stop playing down to teams with lesser talent. If the Clips play everygame like they play when they go up against teams like Memphis and the Spurs, the Clippers will be very hard to beat.

    They lost last night because of defense and lack of scoring from Blake, not because of coaching.

  17. Game Time says:

    Paul was very frustrated that game and he should be. It was a poor defensive effort from the Clippers, and at the same time a great shooting game for Anderson and Vasquez. The Clippers should have locked down the perimeter and let the Hornets take their chances getting points inside. Instead they…well I don’t know what the heck they were doing. Seems to me like this is a growing problem for the Clippers, that is, losing to weaker teams and beating the good ones. I’m not one to jump on blaming the coach for a loss, because the players are just as accountable, but I do think Vinny needs some help to teach these guys better defense.

  18. W/E says:

    Jordan and Griffin are the CLippers main problem, they are so overated what can Paul do with those 2 bricks upfront,they are playing in the NBA and the only thing they can do is jump and dunk the ball, they got no bball talent at all just athleticism.

    • Common Sense says:

      You’re just mad because the Lakers have been so bad this year that you’ve found yourself watching the other LA team. Go back to your lakers. You have a lot to learn about the clippers, how the team plays, and how talented these two players are. Yesterday they lost because they didn’t involve the two big men that you speak of. They jacked up more threes than ever, and got in a long shot fight with a team that only has the three in their arsenal. Had they pounded it in the paint the game would have been controlled and over by the 3rd quarter. By the way compare all areas of a big man game with these two and you won’t find many if any that are better. People like you are so angry…

    • Game Time says:

      Ummm part of talent is being athletic. Jordan was athletic, Kobe was athletic in his younger days and is still in good shape. While the majority of Jordan’s scoring comes from lobs, it isn’t the same with Blake. He has post moves, and is ok from mid range. His main weakness is FTs. The guy is only in his third season and people are acting like he should be the most unstoppable force in the NBA.

  19. Pgulinp1 says:

    DeAndre Jordan and Griffin are just overrated and after some nice start people become overexited abut Clippers, realty is- 4-0 against spurs in playoff without go to player with Poul, he is only superstar in that team, rest are just fun to watch but in late game really usless… blake free trows are just… patetic, along with post moves and all around game, and on defence he is just bad

    • Common Sense says:

      if he was pathetic teams wouldn’t triple team him. free throws are improving but agreeably bad, everything else though is on par with anyone in his position. Deandre Jordan isn’t even close to overrated considered he isn’t even rated by anyone other than shaq, and getting swept by the Spurs is not anything to be shocked about for any team. By the way, no forward has better post moves than blake, all around game is completely generic, and his defense indeed has room for improvement. But you are obviously a fan of an opposing team that doesn’t watch much clippers, simply angry that they got media play from the fast start.Shame on you

      • dattebayo says:

        You gotta be a mad fanboy of Flop City if you think Griffin is the best power forward in the post. Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Kevin Love, Luis Scola, Pau Gasol, Zack Randolph, David West and Dirk Nowitzki all have better post moves and a better overall game than Blake Griffin. Also, when you foul these guys, they don’t brick freethrows like Blake does.
        And yeah I watched them, great 8-2 star and demoralizing 4 game losing streak. Vinny didn’t look good at all against the Hornets.

    • Game Time says:

      What’s pathetic is your spelling. No offense, but who are you to call anyone overrated…like you could do any better.

  20. Varoon says:

    nate mcmillan to LA Clippers!!!

  21. dattebayo says:

    Players say this line all the time, “they are a well coached team”. Doesn’t mean anything and clearly Paul was frustrated with the loss. Del Negro has to take his share of the blame though. Why didn’t he take a timeout when he still had three left with 40 seconds to go, being down 6 and having possession of the ball. You can’t expect your team to pull out a win by just pushing it up the floor and jack up threes.
    I don’t know if it’s really fair to Vinny, but if they keep losing games this way, you will see a coaching change soon. Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, Nate McMillan and Stan van Gundy are still available and they are proven coaches. It would be kinda funny if they somehow get PJ, he becomes the GM and appoints Brian Shaw as the co-headcoach next to him, instills his triangle offense and whupps the Lakers behinds in the playoffs :D

  22. shsoledad says:

    fire chris paul and get rondo……rondo is much better than chris paul

    • CP For 3 says:

      Your obviously some sort of hater or fanboy.. Paul is the Third best player in the NBA behind only Lebron and Howard, Why is it that if someone makes a ten word comment in LA its presumed as an essay on firing their coach?

      • raptor4life says:

        You call him a fanboy, but put CP3 and D12 Before Kevin Durant ??? How’s that mirror looking LA boy.

  23. dexter says:

    ryan hollins for miami heat

  24. dexter says:

    cp3 for miami heat

  25. Arky says:

    CP3 is a smart guy. The only reason I can believe he meant it as a compliment and wasn’t thinking about the put-down to Del Negro is that he was talking about his old coach Monty Williams. Even then, I suspect that’s just him taking the opportunity to slam Del Negro while having an out.

  26. E-SY says:

    Don’t think Paul ment it that way indeed…
    The players though, they should be disciplined finally! Please stay focused especially when your opponent is not that much of a threat for the title! If you win all big games, but lose all others, there are no play-off hopes either! On paper – as well as in some actual results – this is one of the top teams in the league; Start Dominating Please!

  27. It is not WHAT you say, it is HOW you say it. says:

    “A well coached team” … is a compliment to the coach.

    “A less-talented team that was well coached” … is a comparison. A comparison of teams AND coaches.

    Ah’ the age old comparison between the sword and the spoken word … which inflicts a deeper wound.

    • Phil says:

      Paul doing a Kobe thing, Del Negro won’t not be there for Xmas.

    • Mike Beast says:

      “A less-talented team that was well coached” is a comparison of teams, but not coaches.

      “A less-talented team that was better coached” would be a comparison of both teams and coaches.

  28. Andrew Gersaniba says:

    In order to retain CP3 in LA, Clippers must fire Vinnie Del Negro & hire Jerry Sloan.

  29. Scott says:

    Phil Jackson to Los Angeles (clippers).

  30. Swoosh2411 says:

    Add some drama to LA land. get Phil Jackson.. see in the end who get the better deal (Pjax or D’antoni), at the same time, a new challege to PJackson since no true Superstar like MJ & KOBE to run his offense. but with Paul and Blake. and to get even with Lakers mgnt on what they did to him recently by getting D’antoni instead him, and to make Lakers buss’t this season. Im Sure lakers fans will be envy….

    • Phil says:

      Sure cause Paul is not a good point guard and definetely can’t rum am offense.

      And to have Phil coming with no training camp to get his triangles running? Even with him Clippers wouldn’t be there this season.

      And the rubbish Jordan? All the man can do is jump. How many points has he scored off the pain in his whole career?!?!

      And for last leave the haterade man! Your whole comment about the clippers revolves around the Lakers.