What’s Wrong With The Clippers?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — That rant Vinny Del Negro unleashed on his team after Saturday night’s blowout loss to the Houston Rockets (sans James Harden) was not an elaborate pre-April Fool’s Day ruse. It was real.

“They played harder than we did,” Del Negro said. “We were terrible. Our effort was terrible, our attitude was terrible, our urgency was terrible. Very disappointed. I didn’t see the fight in us tonight, and we need guys to step up.”

“We’re fighting for a spot, and we come out with that second-half — pretty much the whole game — effort. It was poor.” Del Negro said. “I know it’s the fourth game in five nights, but that’s no excuse. We’ve got plenty of depth. No excuses. I don’t believe in that.”

The vitriol … the disappointment … all of it was real.

With seemingly everything to play for — a top-three seed in the Western Conference playoffs, home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, simple professional pride — the Clippers cannot find the energy to finish the season the way they started (with a bang).

The Clippers have fallen off the mark in the second half of the season, squandering a league-best 32-9 start by stumbling their way to a .500 finish (17-17) with seven games remaining in the season. Chris Paul‘s MVP turn during All-Star weekend might very well serve as the lone highlight for the Clippers during the season’s stretch run if they can’t shake out of their funk.

They managed a 7-7 record in March and didn’t exactly get off to a rousing start to this final month of the regular season with Monday night’s home loss to the Indiana Pacers, a game that saw the Clippers trail by as many as 24 points before closing the gap late in a 109-106 loss.

Deciphering exactly what’s wrong with the Clippers from a schematic standpoint is basically a waste of time. They have certain deficiencies that cannot be cured this season unless both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan magically locate reliable post moves overnight. That’s not meant as a slight to either of the talented young big men, it’s just a fact.

The Clippers are not capable of playing inside-out for long enough stretches to make other high-level teams uncomfortable. Kicking off a crucial, four-game home stand with a deflating loss to the Pacers is no way to inspire confidence. And when Paul, Jamal Crawford and the rest of the Clippers’ perimeter stars are taking turns struggling as well, it confirms all of the fears we’ve been expressing about this team since their second-half struggles began.

This is code red time for the Clippers. They’ve lost four of their last five games and the finger-pointing (direct and otherwise) has already begun. The effort and energy from the players seems to be lacking, suggesting an underlying issue between the players and the coach that is undefeated in terms of the final results (the coach always has to go).

Del Negro has taken a rather aggressive approach, tinkering with his rotations and even benching starters in an effort to jumpstart his team.

“It’s up to them,” Del Negro said of his players to ESPN.com‘s J.A. Adande after the loss to the Pacers. “All I can do is take them in and out of the games.”

For any of this to be said on a team with some of the best locker room leadership in the league (Paul, Caron Butler, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups) is a bit startling.

Just as startling is Del Negro’s pointed criticism at his biggest stars, particularly his benching of Paul and Griffin recently, moves that are sure to erode the coach-player dynamic on a team that has always had issues in that regard under Del Negro. This madness is going on with a team that needs just one more win to clinch the franchise’s first 50-win season in history.

This puts the entire operation on alert for the postseason. If the Clippers slide in and then slide out just as quickly, then it’s anyone’s guess as to where the Clippers go from there in the offseason.

Start the playoffs on the road and suffer the fate then that you did during your recent tour through the Southwest Division, a 1-3 plank walk, and whatever is wrong with the Clippers will be someone else’s problem.

Del Negro won’t have to worry about it anymore!


  1. Iremember says:

    It was just a few years before Vinny came that the Clippers was the worst team in the league. Since Del Negro became
    coach the Clippers had the best winning % in team history last year. The Clippers had two players on the all-star team two years in a row. This year they will win fifty plus came for the first time in team history, plus the Pacific title for the first in team history. So I say thanks Vinny Del Negro and I hope you get a new contract.

  2. Hell says:

    Like they said it in the video, you need aggression from the start, when bg starts from the begining aggressively he gets 10-15 points easily and you can’t expect paul only in the 4th quarter, bg and dj need to box out someone and we know they’ve got strength, they only jump over someone for rebounds and thats a recipe for injury. 6’10” and 6’11” get every game about 12-15 rebounds together, come on. And about Vinny Del Negro, no comments. Imagine Popovich or Phil Jackson with the Clippers? 10 years of dominance.

  3. kyle09 says:

    How can they say it’s the coach’s fault? Can they say the same thing when the Clips had that long winning streak? unless they changed the system or whatever but with the past few games it seems they had been complacent and inconsistent. With an all-star team like this, there are high expectations. and these overpaid stars should make an extra effort especially during critical games where your opponent is playing their hearts out. It sure is an eye-candy whenever you see them dunking on everybody but when playoff time comes, when the stakes are higher, other teams knows how to defend your strengths so the players like Griffin and DJ needs to come up with post-up moves that makes them unpredictable and will keep their opponents on their heels. Adding consistent short J’s to their arsenal makes the defense focus more on them and they can make plays for their teammates. Still it’s a team effort. We don’t exactly know what goin’ on through their minds. I agree on benching a player even if he’s an allstar (like crybaby Howard @ lakers) if he’s acting up and almost always, whatever is happening, the coach is the fallguy.

  4. Milosz says:

    Every team has ups and downs but Del Negros lack of decisions during that bad stretch is unforgetable. He’s got to do something with Jordan, either make him learn to shot free throws or take him out of the game when being fouled. If something like that “hack a Jordan” strategy occurs in the playoffs he’s got to take him out immediately of the game. I think the line up with Green, Paul, Griffin, Jordan and Butler is the best choice for them. They played that way during 17 game winning streak. Then there came Gran Hill and Billups and everything got broken. Crawford should play more minutes of the bench because he’s the only player that is hot the whole season

  5. dontbuythehype says:

    the clippers dont play playoff basketball. plane and simple. They have runners. Other than Paul and Crawford they don’t have anyone who knows how to play half-court basketball. Good luck beating a playoff team 4 times without a half court offense

  6. HARRY says:

    DeAndre Jordan needs to play in order to be able to rebound. In order to play he needs to make his free throws. If hes not making free throws why should the coach play him. He will be fouled all day. He plays they lose he doesn’t play they lose. It’s not the coaches fault. He coached them very well against the Spurs. Blake and DJ combine for 8 or 10 rebounds wont cut it. In order for them to rebound DJ needs to Learn to make free throws so he will be in the game to get the ball. Simple as that. Lose to the spurs by 2 with Duncan’s great game is just unfortunate but do not blame the coach for the team. They are a great team with a few glitches.

  7. Sidney says:

    DEFENSE! That’s it. At the end of the day it’s defense. The Clippers have no problems getting points. They have more offensive fire power than most teams in the league. They can get buckets. They do need to figure out how to get players in better, easier positions to score.

    It’s all about Defense. Defense wins championships. The Mantra from the Basketball Heavens.

  8. Tien says:

    The clippers are going downhill and I am disappointed. I’m a huge clipper fan and I just don’t understand why. They were doing great earlier this season than all of a sudden. I just hope they stop this nonsense and play.

  9. Manny says:

    Even when clippers lose they are still the most entertaining team to watch. I think its is time to recognise that February and march was a good month for the east and Miami wins over the east teams during the 27 game streak was impressive.

  10. Jay T says:

    First, season ticket holder year 11 here…..

    Second, This team has become better each year under VD and is about to set many a franchise record. If the team continues its course things are very good in Clipper Land. Are they a NBA TITLE CONTENDER. No. There was flashes of it at points this season but they are a year or two away.

    Fact: They need a center whom posses some offensive game. The lack of shooting ability by DJ is allowing every team to double BG all game long. And if DG ever get close enough to the basket why not just foul him at 40% FT’ing. The pick and roll dunks are all sweet but when the game slows down you rarely see LOB CITY.

    Clippers make many a point on break outs and need to force TO’s to get out on it.. pretty to watch that as their athletes are spectacular.

    The OLD men are only being good coaches, Billups and Hill have done little for the team on the court. These positions need to be filled by court contributors.

    Like last season the wear on BG is showing. He is limping into the post season again. The explosive out of this world moves have subsided. The Clippers NEED to get a post man whom takes the nightly beating BG gets off him.

    Clippers are in a funk at the worst time and the West is way deep. Home court will be important for LA. Do not underestimate CP3 come crunch time…..

  11. Paul says:

    The Houston game was just a bad loss. I didn’t get why they got blow out on that game.
    The game against Mavs was pure BS call from the ref on the last play saying Griffin pushed off Dirk for and gets a offensive foul.
    I was at the game last night against Indiana, they were down 23pts and came back.
    They had a chance to tie or win, but George Hill knocked down two 3’s.
    West got a huge jump shot.
    I say they still have the heart to win.
    Go Lob City!

  12. MJfromOKC says:

    What isnt wrong with them?

    Have you looked at the roster. They have a few good players and thats being generous.

    Chris Paul is good. If it wasnt for him this team wouldnt be on the radar.

    Blake Griffin is still young and developing.

    Deondre Jordan is athletic. Last I checked everyone in the NBA was a pro athlete. This is another “high jumper” who dunks on people but is just a glorified role player.

    Jamal Crawford is good but he isnt getting any younger.

    Bledsoe? The only reason I know this guys name is because hes CPs backup.

    And you think coaching is the reason…

  13. JocTheHawk says:

    CP3, BG, DJ are Over-rated. Thats the problem

  14. camel says:

    Del Negro isn’t a bad coach! He has a above .500 record as a coach. He got simply outshined by Thibs, who is a phenomenal coach, one of the best in the league

    • amitpal says:

      First off thibs is chicagos coach not indiana if thats what ur referrring to. Second wins dont always tell how good a coach is. Vinny has had a good team the last two years and he hasnt done anything special about it. In chicago he had a good team and he didnt do anything special with them. Thibs took that same team along with bad defenders in boozer and korver and turned that chicago team into one of the best defensive teams. So vinny has coached talented and hasnt done anything special with it. Even there 17 game win streak was against bad team. So tha t wasnt that special eithrr.

  15. INDIANA says:


  16. All City says:

    Seems like you “ToeNailClippers” fans are quick to point fingers at the coach, you want his head you’ll probably have it as no one wants to be a realist and acknowledge the fact that you have no bigs! They stockpiled gaurds up the ***!

    The league has evolved into a small ball league where true centers are becoming extinct and if you get one, the odds of him being healthy for a full career are not promising. Kareem set the standard of a true center/big and the league will never see a talent of his magnitude again. He is the greatest (not just center) player of all time although no one gives him the credit!!

    The clips have a promising future and need to play to their strengths in order to be successful. You “ToeNailClippers” fanz need to relax Indiana is just a superior team to you and CP3 BG DJ and the rest just caught a beat down, brush it off and keep it moving!

    Oh by the way, every time I see CP3 all I see is him flopping on his clutch jumpers!! Looks like BG’s ways are rubbing off on him, STOP FLOPPING CP3!!!

    • Born2Ball says:

      You’re probably a Laker fan (in fact I’m sure you are even if you deny it) who’s a hypocrite cause that’s the same thing you guys blamed.

  17. Born2Ball says:

    The Clippers coaching is one of the main problems. You have to give credit to Spo this year more than before for managing his stars and minutes. People looked at him as a joke of a coach but you can see that you can’t just take talented players and make a winning team. Clippers, Lakers, Brooklyn and NY are all teams that should be at the very top of their conferences with the amount of talent they have, but it’s about the coaching too.

  18. zgillet says:

    Bad coaching can make any team terrible. Chris Paul should just player-coach.

  19. amitpal says:

    Everyone has been saying it for the last year, clippers need a better coach. Vinny gets out coached against most teans especially against the elite. Its true blake and dj have to play much better and paul needs to take more control of games but I dont think this team believe in its coach. Shoot nobody does. Everybody says vinny is not a good coach. Theres no system to how the clippers play they have no identity, and in the closing minutes clippers give the ball to paul and says go do something. Paul is 6 feet and not very fast so he cant get past or shoot over everybody like kd or kobe can do. Paul needs to be in a system like tony parker whos been great for the spurs but vinny cant come up with a system. I thought that mike antoni would have been a great clippers coach. But as of right now id look at larry brown or jerry sloan who has a great point forward system. To me those r ur best option maybe nate but hes to defensive oriented and plays to slow for the clippers roster.

  20. Lakers#1 says:

    The other teams have figured out a winning formula: double up on CP3 and take him out of the equation. CP3 is the brain, talent and will power of the Clippers. The rest of the team is slightly above average at best!

  21. tphen says:

    well said Ro. definitely agree with ya. muscle up clips! that is if you want to go any further come playoffs time.

  22. mario davis says:

    Ro I love you because you get it. You must have a lot of knowledge about basketball. Players make the big bucks for a reason. When you win it is because of the players and when you lose it is because of the coaching. Thankless job! Think VDN and his staff have done a great job with a roster that continues to change.You have to go with the guys that are ready to play.

  23. W/E says:

    Blake and Deandre are very athletic but have a really low Basketball IQ,thats what the problem is the clippers got no inside scoring,these 2 guys gotta get a post game and improve their movement and positioning so that the clippers become more dominant on halfcourt offense.

  24. Except for CP,BG & JC… Everyone else is what’s wrong with this team plus the coach.. I seen the game last night n my goodness it’s like the clips look lost or they just waiting for playoff to start n well I got news for the clips – dont dare to face the grizz or the denva in the first round without home court or else yo gonna go fishing early with yo’all neighbor the la la land fakers…

  25. charles says:

    Clippers are in a market that is simply happy to have them win or be in a playoffs. The players feel that. The only REAL basketball players in that whole team is CP3, Grant hill and Chauncey Billups. Grant Hill and Chauncy are up there in age so they provide leadership and a “calm eye of the storm” approach to the game. CP3 is absurdly talented not only in basketball but also in leadership and that’s why they are winning. But he can’t do it alone. Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are very talented but one has to question their desire to win a championship. How many inside moves did they add to their repertoire this off season? Clearly not many. They both rely on their superior athleticism and Chris Paul’s super human basketball vision to score. That’s not sufficient. They need to expand their skill-set so that the next time they meet a team of skilled ball players like Zach Randolph and Gasol in Memphis who know how to outsmart and flat out out-skill you even if they don’t have the superior athleticism, they have a shot at winning.

    • Born2Ball says:

      I mostly agree with you. No one on that team is thinking about a championship like CP3. Most of them just want to have fun, make nice plays and hopefully win. Where I disagree with you is Blake. It is apparent that he is working on his game. His FT is improving, he’s trying to develop his shot, and his inside game is not that bad. There are some things he can improve on this offseason, but please don’t forget this is only his 3rd year. As for DJ,I will agree with you that he is not improving or trying hard enough to do so.

  26. Ro says:

    It’s pretty simple. Look at how DeAndre and Blake are rebounding! They combined for 10 last night. Its all effort. People that say its up to the coach to motivate his players are, in my opinion, absolute morons. You cant blame the coach for lack of effort by overpaid professionals. You’re in the best league in the world and ‘earning’ a bazillion dollar paycheck. If that isnt motivation enough, then quit. Lamar Odom can get 10 boards in 19 minutes. I love BG but you cant tell me a guy like that couldnt get virtually every rebound? David West and Roy Hibbert cant jump. BG can jump higher than anyone in the league (except maybe his teammate). They both should make it impossible for teams to get offensive rebounds. They should have claimed double-digit rebounds each last night, and every night.
    The other problem? No half-court offense, or inside scoring. Do you know how easy it is to defend a team that scores from the perimeter only? Blake needs to work on becoming a super athletic Karl Malone, and DJ needs to increase his FT% so its higher than other players’ 3pt %!!!!!

    • Apostolos says:

      @Ro, Trust me It’s Vinny Del Negro, I swear sometimes it seems only Chicago Bulls fans fully understand how bad of a coach Vinny Del Negro truly is.

    • DAVID M says:


    • Axxer says:

      Rebounding is a part of your defense. Currently, with the way that the bigs are asked to hedge hard on pick and rolls, they are often out of position to grab a defensive rebound. The extra attention to the guard also often results in a rotation to the rolling/popping big, which may then result in an open wing player for 3. The system also asks the bigs to switch a lot, which doesn’t help the rebounding either. Obviously, this is just one of many reasons for the rebounding issues, one of which is lack of effort, but the system is at least partially to blame for a lot of the Clippers’ defensive woes (as well as their offensive problems, but that’s another topic entirely).

  27. Mr. Guy says:

    What’s wrong with the Clippers? They don’t have a very good coach, that’s the long and the short of it. If your team doesn’t have much better strategy at the end of the game than A. hope Chris Paul can work his magic or B. hope Jamal Crawford bails you out, you can only go so far in the playoffs.

  28. Game Time says:

    “All I can do is take then in and out of games” there’s your problem right there. I can only imagine what Clippers could actually be with a real coach.

  29. BJ says:

    when the Clippers dont play their style of the game, they lose. Blake is taking too many jump shots and DJ isn’t banging the boards. DJ didnt score a single point last night and then they have to take him out of the 4th quarter if the game is close so they dont start fouling him and making him shoot free throws.

    All the games they are losing to are close as well, its not like they are getting blown out and even if they are down by 20 points like last night, they come back. IND came out the gate shooting great, the Clippers better get back to their brand of ball because htey haven’t been playing it at all this last monht or so. Blake and DJ arent dunking like they used to, CP3 needs to start shooting at the beginnig of the game and play the entire game and not just the 4th quarter to win.

    it really makes no difference, they are going to play either DEN OR MEM in the playoffs anywyay if the slide down to the 5th seed. they better start playing hard and aggressive because all the other teams are.

  30. Apostolos says:

    VINNY DEL NEGRO is what’s wrong, simple as that really.