Del Negro Stays Clear Of Hot Seat

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — What the Los Angles Clippers are doing is just as impressive in person as it is from afar. Seriously, do you have any idea how difficult it is in the NBA to win every night with a schedule that is unrelenting and competition that, for the most part, is as tight as you could get on a given night?

The Clippers do and have managed their league-best 17-game win streak masterfully.

Does it mean they’ve arrived among the NBA’s truly elite? We won’t know that for sure until sometime in late April or early May, when this group fights off the pressure in the playoffs and advances without playing their very best. Does it mean they have officially replaced the Los Angeles Lakers as the top hoops draw in their own city? Of course, not. Lakers fans will simply remind you to look up in the rafters at Staples Center and start counting the banners.

But if this streak proves anything at all, it’s that Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro has figured out the best way to avoid the dreaded coaching hot seat he seemed to be on every other night when his team wasn’t winning all the time. In fact, he’s rarely been mentioned, good or bad, during the streak. And that’s probably the way he’d like to keep it.

The laws of NBA gravity suggest that this streak will have to end sometime soon. A grueling stretch of schedule that has the Clippers walking on hot coals — in Denver on Tuesday, the Nuggets are 9-1,  in Oakland to face Golden State the next night, and then back in Los Angeles for another round of the City Championship series against the Lakers on Friday, followed the next night by a visit from the Warriors — just to survive the next six days.

It’s certainly doable for a team that went 16-0 this month. But adding four more wins this week against that schedule would be grounds for an investigation into extra-terrestrial assistance for a franchise that has never experienced the kind of hoops high the Clippers are these days.

Which brings us right back to Del Negro, whose navigated this mercurial stretch seamlessly. He’s allowed the Clippers’ entire cast of characters to play their roles to perfection. All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin lead the way, Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan do some of the heavier lifting when they need to, as Butler did in Sunday’s win over the Utah Jazz with 29 points, while the league’s best bench (Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Eric Bledsoe and the boys) continue to crash open close games with their wave on non-stop energy.

You don’t win 17 straight games without someone knowing when to and when not to push, as Crawford told the Orange County Register after No. 17:

“Everybody here has a decent body of work in some way shape or form,” Crawford said. “They’ve proven something somewhere in the NBA. With that is a confidence that a player has, and there are egos involved.”For him to be able to manage that and put people in the right positions and use people to their strengths, he deserves a lot of credit.”

Del Negro has juggled a rotation full of veterans without much drama, but he’s established roles for everyone from Paul to Ryan Hollins.

“Guys get frustrated sometimes not playing as much, but it’s about the team winning games,” Del Negro said.

One thing Del Negro has done is allow players to operate in their areas of strength.

“He just tells me to be me. It’s been awhile since I was told to just be me,” Ronny Turiaf said. “I think it goes back to the Laker days when Phil (Jackson) told me, ‘Ronny, just go out there and play. I trust your basketball I.Q. I trust your basketball knowledge to be able to make plays for us.'”

Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said managing a roster with so many guys who are capable could present challenges down the road.

“It’s difficult. It’s a good and a bad thing to be in,” Corbin said. “Guys want to play, especially good guys who have had great careers and still think they have something to offer. Things are going well so they all want to be a part of it. It’s easier to manage their minutes, when things are going well.”

Said Crawford of Del Negro: “For him to have the pulse of the team and feel the team and the stuff he draws up, he has us believing we can win every single day.”

Do it every single day this week and someone can toss Del Negro’s hot seat into the ocean sometime late Saturday night!


  1. Najee says:

    I’ve been likin the Clippers eva since the Chris Paul trade. I knew that they were goin to get betta with time. Now they’re playin a style compared to the Showtime Lakers. Looks like LA has a new favorite team.

  2. Whoa! says:

    They prob wont win the tittle……..BUT DAMNNNNNNNNNN

    Most athletic team in the league… NO DOUBT!!!!!

  3. lewis davis says:

    Out of all the coaches in the NBA, you are talking about Coach Del Negro and the hot seat? They are the hottest team in the league. Man you need to give it a rest!

  4. dattebayo says:

    As impressive as this win streak is, with 3 straight losses they would fall to the 3rd seed. The West is tough and you can fall off the top if you even have a minor slump like losing 5 out of 8 games. I think the Clippers will be the Division Champions but I don’t think they can hold on to the 1st seed until the end of this season. They still have their longest road trip ahead of them and eventually teams will play better defense against them.

  5. B-Ball 4 Life says:

    @ All the Clippers haters you can’t be serious. I am not a Clippers Fan but you are hatin big time. The Spurs bench might be the second best behind the Clippers. How in the world can you not see their quality mix of experience/power. I mean hey Chauncey Billups, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, Ronny Turiaf. And Chris Paul won’t get ist done? Did you watch some games this season? I guess no one in the league is better as a Closer (Kobe, Lebron, Melo & KD are the only worth mentioning). I do agree that the Playoffs are different but they beat the Spurs twice already. So let’s see what happens…

    • BJ says:

      CP3 and Crawford are closers!!! I agree with you B-Ball I dont know what games they are watching, but the Clippers should be feared right about now. I mean where in the league have you seen the 6th man get the ball continuesly to close games out? Crawford is no joke!

  6. simon mure says:

    guys give credit where it’s due.. do you think winning 17 straight games in nba is an easy job with all that travelling and fatigue. and to say the least deandre jordan has improved unlike last season where he didn’t even know how to post.

  7. Jacques Durceille says:

    Deandre jordan is trash sincerely Durceille. Eat it clip fans.

    • dattebayo says:

      I am curious, who would you consider a good centre in this league? And if Jordan is trash, what would you call Hibbert, Lopez, Gortat or Monroe?

      btw. if you can’t name a good centre in this league, you will have to lower your standards and stop living in that fantasy world of yours…

    • BJ says:

      I would take D’Andre over Howard on any day. Howard is all hype and is one of the most overrated players in the league. Ive watched several Laker games(and Im a Laker fan also), Howard is “no factor” when he’s out there. I mean NONE! he’s filling a role, he’s not coming in and dominating the game like everyone expected. Hell he didn’t do that in Orlando. Jordan is young and developing every game. Can leap out of the building for a bigman and has stepped up his offensive. But the team is so deep, they dont need to go into him every night.

  8. mrcpg says:

    LAC is kinda like the old Sonics teams from the mid 90s. It’s possible to reach the finals with a lineup like that, but it’s also possible to lose in the first round.

  9. badbrad71 says:

    Reblogged this on badbrad71's Blog and commented:
    I like how every NBA coach gets Phil comparisons while winning.

  10. Big Al says:

    A streak like this early in the season would normally see the team fold easily in the playoffs. Championship squads don’t give it their all this soon, but I can say that the Clippers are giving 200% already, so they’re likely gonna run of puff towards the end.

    • Paul says:

      a team not giving their all each game will never reach the championship. contenders may not have it on every night but I guarantee you they try to give their best each game (especially the player who is leading the team)

    • Hm says:

      “A streak like this early in the season would normally see the team fold easily in the playoffs.”
      What makes you say that?
      “Championship squads don’t give it their all this soon, but I can say that the Clippers are giving 200% already, so they’re likely gonna run of puff towards the end.”
      They’re not giving it their all. Starters aren’t playing a lot of fourth quarters and several players have noted that they haven’t peaked.

  11. Lakers-R-Us says:

    They’ve won 17 in a row. No need for anyone to be on a hot seat! Incredible!!!!

  12. W/E says:

    The clippers are a good team,their only weakness is the center position, D.Jordan is awfull talent wise but it doesnt mean much cause all centers in the league are awfull,including D12, at least his athletic enough to be able to play defence and dunk the ball.

  13. Jacques Durceille says:

    To all those against me.

    The era is not over. What happened was that big men refused to play their positions and decided to take jumpshots as if they were shooting guards a la Nowitzki and Chris Bosh. I will concede that the glory days of big men are over but Deandre is still a disgrace. He is not the focal point because he has not shown himself to be a focal point. No one comes in at random and chooses a random player to be the focal point. You have to produce and play and show you are the focal point.

    The clippers will end up like the steve nash suns. Great regular season, nothing to show in the playoffs. Blake griffin, jordan, and chris paul will not be able to get it done. They don’t have what it takes. None of them are the best at what they do. When the game gets slowed down in the post season to more halfcourt possessions the clips will stall and fall. Griffin, and jordan can’t shoot, and paul is not the kind of player who can score over 30 points consistently to get you crucial wins.

    Like i said, smell ya later.

    • Paul says:

      Each clipper has a role to play and that includes Jordan, to say he is a disgrace is nothing but pure bashing, he might not put up big numbers but he fits the clipper’s system and is improving his game each season. For a 35th pick, he really is a catch.

      What I see the difference with this clippers team is what goes on in the locker room, they’ve became a tight knit group, and that trust between team mates will win them a lot more games and maybe a title.

    • K jo says:

      Griffin has been making his shots pretty well this year guess you haven’t been watching. Chris Paul is in the discussion has the best point guard in the nba every year. Crawford is the best sixth man in the game right now. And there are more on the rooster that can win a game for you and have won for the clippers. Hell they are going to be scary when Billups and Hill are out there.

    • Hm says:

      I take back my initial (and serious) reply, because this man clearly doesn’t watch the games or the stats.

  14. CLIPPSSS says:

    @Jacques Durceille

    You obviously don’t watch Clippers games……

  15. Zack says:

    Okay fine Vinny you can stay if you bring us a title. I will allow it.

  16. MaFox says:

    I never throught del negro was a good coach. But now I don’t know what to think. ehhhhh

  17. teo says:

    @Jacques Durceille

    LOL bro.. Clippers beaten Spurs 2-0 this season and they are still looking for some vengeance against Old Duncan and his team this playoffs.

  18. darko says:

    Del Negro lets the guys run, and in the past he’s done that to a fault. But Chris Paul is a real general on the floor and deserves his head. The Clips should hire Chauncey Billups just to write up inbounds plays, jumpball strategies and the like.

  19. Nick says:

    It’s nice to see a good coach get some credit. Most of the time the players are credited alone for a good record, and the coach only when a team plays badly. Good article!

  20. JenJen says:

    Kenny, it wasn’t true either time you said it. The Clippers bench dominates the Spurs bench. I feel sorry for Spurs fans. They don’t know that their players are too old to really make a championship run.

    • Mark says:

      Ever heard of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair, Nando de Colo, Patrick Mills? My guess is a no because you’re probably just a casual basketball fan. Saying that the Spurs are “old” is old news. Next time, think before you speak.

    • Michael says:

      The Spurs swept the Clippers last year. The Spurs bench almost beat the well-rested Heat four weeks ago. The Spurs were leading until the final minute. Too old to make a run? They were only two games from the Finals last year, and Duncan is playing even better this season. Per 36 minutes, he’s as productive as his MVP seasons.

      • BJ says:

        The Clippers are a stronger and deeper team this season, with a defensive bench that cannot be stopped. They have bean SA twice already. I think SA will be in trouble this time around coming up against the Clippers. And if the Heat was in the West they would be 4th or 5th in standings. MIA is on the eastcoast and most of the eastcoast teams are mediocre at best.

  21. […] Register, Phil Jackson, Ronny Turiaf, Ryan Hollins, Sekou Smith, Tyrone Corbin, Vinny Del Negro / 4 Comments […]

  22. Jacques Durceille says:

    Clippers are still soft.Deandre Jordan is a failure and He will never produce for a big man his size. At his size he should be getting 20 and 15 but that is too much to ask these days from big guys who are tall, muscular and can jump. Clips won’t make it far though, they have athletics but they don’t have quality. It is a shame an old Tim Duncan outshines the youngest and most athletic big men including Dwight Cry-ward i mean Howard.

    They will have a great regular season record, but that will be meaningless come play off time. Clips are not the real deal. Smell ya later.

    • Hm says:

      They need DeAndre for defence, silly, the defence that your preferred player (Duncan) so excels at.

      Duncan’s career offensive rating: 110 (though he is second all time in defensive rating)
      DeAndre’s career offensive rating: 111

      Duncan’s second this year, DeAndre falls just out of the top 10. Three other Clippers (Bledsoe, Odom and Griffin) are in the top 10. Three of these guys are “athletic” and apparently not as soft as you’d think.

      • Bongoman55 says:

        Please do not compare Duncans 15 year accomplishment with Jordan’s work that began a few seasons ago. That makes no sense.

      • Hm says:

        If by compare you mean equate, then that’s not what I’m doing. Don’t be that guy.

    • fanballa says:

      because someone is athletic and big they should easily average 20 and 15? Those are big numbers, especially for someone who isn’t a focal point of the offence

    • BJ says:

      And what criteria and standard are you basing your comments on? You are focused on Jordan? when their whole rosters is so deep they don’t have to depend on on individual every night to produce? The era of relying on the bigman inside to carry the team is over. those days are gone out with Shaq. the game is all together different today. you have players like Durant that runs the court like a 7′ guard. Are you kidding me? you have no bases on your conclusion that they will not shine in the playoffs also.

      whether you like the Clippers or not, you can’t take away the unbelievable record they have today and have made history with a few elite. Give them that much, regardless of what your crystal ball says for their unforseen future.

  23. Kenny says:

    League’s best bench? The Spurs’ bench is the league’s best bench, Sekou.

  24. Kenny says:

    League’s best bench? Spurs got the best bench in the league, Sekou.

    • BJ says:

      Do the Spurs have the best bench? havent heard alot about what they are doing out there. Not taking anything away from the Spurs but I don’t see that. I don’t see the Spurs starters resting most of their second half like the Clippers starters do because the Spurs bench is so good. I dont see that.

      • Mark says:

        No, really. The Spurs’ bench is that good. I should know. I’ve watched a bunch of Spurs games this season, and the bench has played awesome.

      • BJ says:

        OK Mark, I will take your word for it. I will try to catch more Spurs games to see how their bench is playing. I don’t take anything away from the Spurs because they are simply that good. they have a system that runs like a well lubed engine. but in my honest opinion, I think they are going to struggle agianst the Clippers this year. The Clippers have added an outstanding defensive package to their group and they are shutting teams down. They beat SA twice already, but we will see what happened, because we will probably see them in the playoffs again.

  25. […] Del Negro Stays Clear Of Hot (blog)The laws of NBA gravity suggest that this streak will have to end sometime soon. A grueling stretch of schedule that has the Clippers walking on hot coals – in Denver on Tuesday, the Nuggets are 9-1, in Oakland to face Golden State the next night, and …The Time to ImproveClipperblog (blog)all 15 news articles » […]

  26. BJ says:

    Once again the Clippers are showing everyone what they are made of. Another win last night. Del Negro has done an excellent job leading this team to 17 straight wins. they are among the few elite with this streak right here. The team is so deep and talented that they can beat any team on any given night. with the starters getting a lot of rest in the second half of these games they have a greater chance of being healthy and strong when the playoffs get here. I believe they have a good shot at the finals. the WCF for sure, but the finals also. No one in the east can beat them.

    • Andy says:

      The Blazers won 15 straight a few years ago and didn’t get past the first round. A long winning streak at the beginning of the season means nothing. A long winning streak at the end of the season is what counts.

      • Gameon says:

        Even a streak at the end of the season doesn’t matter i.e 2012 Spurs. The streak in the playoffs matters the most

    • kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

      no one in the east can beat them, have you not heard of the miami heat, the playoffs are different in a seven game series, then compared to a 17 game win streak, they look good not knocking that but in the west its going to be tuff to come out of okc, memphis, spurs,

    • Bongoman55 says:

      Be a little more gentle in applying the Anointing Oil. It is only game 28 or so. No one in the East can beat them? Any NBA team can beat any one at any time. Even the Bobcats can if they catch you in an adrenalin flowing night. So, go easy guy. What they are doing is exceptional but the Rockets won 23 games straight recently and did not make it to the WCF. They cannot beat MIA in 7 games nor in the west OKC. San Antonio swept them last year. NY can beat them also in the East.

      • BJ says:

        OKC, SA and MIA all have played the Clippers and they have beat them at some point. They played OKC once and lost this year, but they did beat them last year. they have beaten MIA twice already, covincingly. All the eastcoast teams are mediocre, they won’t stand a chance. if MIA was in the west they would be in 4th or 5th place. what you see from NYC is the best you are going to get and that wont be enough coming up agaisnt these westcoast teams, they are too strong.

    • Mike says:

      Clippers coach is Chris Paul, with this coach they cant win championship.

      • BJ says:

        completely illogical comment Mike. YOU think the Clippers coach is CP3, the coach is Del Negro, his mentor is Billups, he’s leading and orchestrating his team when he’s on the court. and he does a damn good job of it.