Posts Tagged ‘Arash Markazi’

Paul Confirms He’s ‘All In’ With Clippers



HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Chris Paul‘s free-agent summer is over.

He’s sticking with the Los Angeles Clippers, as expected, and Tweeted out the news for anyone who didn’t know:

That ends the major free agent business of the summer for the Clippers, who added Doc Rivers as their coach and senior vice president of basketball operations last week.

Paul has agreed to put his signature on a five-year, $107 million deal that will include the standard opt-out after the fourth year. Paul will not be able to sign the deal until July 10th, when the league moratorium on signing new deals is lifted.

Any suggestions of the Clippers doing business the way they did during their leanest years seem to have evaporated with the Rivers ranking as the highest-paid coach in the league along with stars like Paul and Blake Griffin piling up the big bucks. Time will tell if this sort of spending leads to the championship caliber team that everyone involved desires.

Back Away From The Edge, Clipper Fans

.

HANG TIME, Texas — From Bill Walton’s feet to Danny Ferry’s bolting for Italy to the choice of Michael Olowokandi to practically any decade of Donald Sterling’s long and painful stewardship, it is practically built into their DNA.

Fear! Dread! Panic!

So maybe you can’t blame Clippers fans for seeking out a tall mast from which to jump.

But we will.

Relax.

Yes, it’s now a three-game losing streak that has your boys slipping behind the Spurs into third place in the Western Conference playoff race. Yes, the latest blow came at the hands of the lowly Suns, who are more barren than an Arizona desert and are memorizing the name of their new coach (Lindsey Hunter).

No, the ball’s not going into the basket as often as they’d like. No, Blake Griffin wasn’t zooming toward the rim to catch alley-oops for dunks, wasn’t attacking the basket and wasn’t taking enough shots.

Come on, surely you can take off your sunglasses to see that handsome young man in the dapper outfit sitting over there on the bench, not far from coach Vinny Del Negro.

Meet Chris Paul, fire-starter, All-Star and MVP candidate whose stock is only soaring higher as he waits for a sore knee to feel better.

Maybe everyone was fooled when the Clippers swept a three-game road trip a week ago with Paul on the sidelines nursing his knee. But does anyone really think this team, this season, this talk about the Clippers as real championship contenders doesn’t revolve around CP3?

Everything the Clippers try to do with their offense is based on having the ball in Paul’s hands, letting him make plays, buckets and decisions, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles notes:

The Clippers don’t want to make any excuses while Paul is out, and there’s certainly a chance he could be out for a week as he was the last time he sat out with a bruised right kneecap. But with the Clippers up by one with 7:45 left in the game, the Clippers sure could have used Paul or at least Chauncey Billups running the offense to close the game out. Eric Bledsoe is a great change-of-pace point guard and can give the Clippers a spark in the second and third quarters, but Del Negro likes to lean on Paul (and Billups when he’s healthy) early and late in games and it’s not hard to see why.

“All that stuff changes with Chris or Chauncey out there,” Del Negro said. “There’s no excuse. We were in this game and whoever is out there I have confidence in and they got to make the plays.”

Paul is the one who gets the ball to all of the other Clippers in the best position for them to score. Paul is the one who creates the open spaces for open shots. Paul is the one who turns them from a collection of diverse talent into a team.

Yes, there are games that you can win over the course of a long season without your star player. The Clippers did that in going 3-0 through Memphis, Houston and Minnesota. But that was never the point.

Imagine the Heat without LeBron James or the Thunder without Kevin Durant. Heck, even imagine the Three Stooges without Curly.

The show still goes on. But nobody really comes to see Shemp.

We don’t need laboratory slides to know that panic is in your blood, Clipper fans.

Just relax and know that CP3 is just collecting a few more MVP votes this week.

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.

(more…)

Kobe Bryant’s Inspiring Work With The Homeless In Los Angeles

In 2011, Kobe Bryant announced the formation of the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps youth and families in need.

 

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We spend an inordinate amount of time during this part of the offseason detailing things like what sort of workouts a player is going through and where they’re vacationing.

What doesn’t garner as many headlines is the work they do off the court: conducting free camps for kids, donating their time and money to charitable causes and getting outside of their comfort zone every now and then to use their stature as some of the world’s most recognizable face to a worthy cause.

And as Lakers star Kobe Bryant highlighted earlier this week while walking the downtown streets of Los Angeles with his wife, Vanessa, wading into the midst of that city’s homeless community. Sometimes, as ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi makes clear, it takes the bright light that only certain celebrities bring to draw attention to a particular cause:

While Bryant was there he met a 58-year-old man, who has been in and out of the mission for the past year.

“He was extremely articulate and he had a great life and he made a poor choice and ended up on the streets,” Bryant said. “He came to the L.A. Mission weighing 135 pounds and now he’s healthy and his weight is back up. He’s 58 but he’s in better shape than I am. … You get to hear their stories and you get to find out first-hand what’s going on.

“This issue gets pushed into the backburner because it’s easy to put the blame on those that are homeless and say you made that bad decision and that’s the reason why you are where you are and it’s your fault. We all make mistakes and to just sit back and watch this and to wash your hands of it by saying that’s your fault, that’s not right and it’s not fair.”

On Wednesday Kobe and Vanessa Bryant arrived at My Friend’s Place, a drop-in center for homeless youth in Hollywood, which annually serves about 1,700 individuals between the ages of 12 and 25. They were there to announce the completion of the center’s renovation, which was funded by the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

“This isn’t a popular topic or a popular issue,” Bryant said. “It’s one where you have to get your hands dirty a little bit. It’s not something celebrities easily rally around but this is something that we wanted to change. This something we’re all going to have to fight, it’s going to be a long fight but I’m in it for the long haul.”

(more…)

Clippers Get Money’s Worth From Paul





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The best investment of the year, in basketball or anywhere else, has to be Chris Paul.

He’s a one-man bailout, a market-changer for a franchise that needed one and the true game-changer the Los Angeles Clippers thought he was when they snatched him out from under the nose of the Los Angeles Lakers at the start of this season.

On a floor filled with MVP candidates last night, it was Paul who decided things, dropping the game winner on the Thunder in Oklahoma City and spoiling the night for Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Paul’s 31 points are more impressive when you break it down by half (24 in the second) and by quarter (11 in the fourth). And then there’s the capper, that crunch-time layup with 8.8 seconds to play that turned out to be the game winner. We’re talking about a player who is arguably the league’s best big-moment performer joining a Clippers team that, aside from a plethora of Blake Griffin highlights, had no identity before his arrival.

Now they appear to be a legitimate threat to wreak some serious havoc in the Western Conference playoffs. That wasn’t the Kings (no offense) Paul hit with the last-second dagger last night. That was the Thunder, the team many pegged to come out of the West this year and that was 21-0 at home this season when leading after three quarters.

(more…)

Clippers At The Crossroads Now





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It’s about time someone closed the door, stopped focusing on all of this “Lob City” stuff and lit into the Los Angeles Clippers.

Someone had to do it.

You lose 11 of 18 games since Chauncey Billups went down for the season with that Achilles injury and it’s obvious to us that someone has to step up and say something.

Enter Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, the man who will no doubt shoulder the largest amount of blame if things go awry down the stretch of this season, and his postgame tirade (of sorts) after last night’s humbling at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. You could hear him through the walls, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times:

The Clippers coach used words like “approach,” “compete” and “defense” in his emphatic message after the Clippers dropped a 114-91 game to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“I’m big into how you approach games and how you compete,” Del Negro said. “We have to get the mentality of we have to play a certain way to win right now.

“And it has to be through our defense because we lack certain things. In order for us to score enough points to take pressure off of us, we have to be able to guard better.

“But our overall approach and everything to the game has to be better. That’s what is disappointing to me. We have to do a better job of being in the moment from the get-go and not waiting to get into the game.”

Del Negro got his first technical foul of the season.

The Clippers gave up more than 100 points for the second straight game in their three-games-in-three-nights trip that finishes in New Orleans on Thursday.

Del Negro probably had a receptive crowd in that locker room.

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the crew know that they are at a crossroads. They realize they can finish one way … or the other. And they have to know that the city they hoped to take by storm is currently being reclaimed by that “other” team that calls the Staples Center home.

You either get this fixed — and now — or risk becoming another footnote in an abbreviated season filled with teams that had the look of a contender (just ask the folks in Portland if you’re unclear on what we mean) before reality ruined the party.

(more…)

Lost In Clipperland Already

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The next time someone gives you a free ticket to ride the Los Angeles Clippers’ bandwagon, tear it up.

Because you’ll only wish you did later.

All of that preseason excitement built up about the Clippers in the days leading up to the start of the regular season have coming crashing back to reality in typical, Clippers-fashion.

Questions about the work ethic and leadership abilities of Baron Davis are dominating the conversation just four games into the regular season.

Four friggin’ games! How can this be?

We had offseason dreams of Davis and Blake Griffin teaming up for sick highlights (like the one above) and leading this team into playoff contention in what we assumed would be a wide open Western Conference postseason chase.

Instead, woke up to this email (subject line: Disturbia aka The Clippers) from Eric Frazier, who obviously watched the Clippers Monday night loss to San Antonio and did not like what he saw:

I’ve been taking advantage of the free NBA Pass checking out my Western Conference darkhorse, the Clippers.  There’s something VERY WRONG with this team.

1. Except for Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, they play little to no “D”.
2. What kind of offense is being run on this team, and why can’t this athletic  score????  (Maybe Vinny Del Negro is as bad a coach as everyone thinks he is…..I’m from Chicago)
3. The last and MOST DISTURBING POINT is that they don’t involve Blake Griffin in the offense enough.  They don’t give him enough touches while shooting too many jumpshots.  He should average 10 free throw attempts every night with no problem.

Is this Vinny coddling his rookie like he did Derrick Rose?  I understand the intent, but you’re talking about the point guard and power forward position….night and day.  Last night, he was a mismatch for whoever guarded him, yet they pound the ball for 20 seconds and hurl up desperation threes to avoid a shot clock violation. Is this a result of bad coaching, bad point guard play, or just a part of being a Clipper???!!!

It’s nearly impossible to answer that last question without the cruel, “just part of being a Clipper” punchline that most people use. If we’re going to blame Del Negro for whatever ails this team four games in, than this thing is already over. Surely, you have to give Del Negro more time to prove that he can lead this team than four games …
***
***
But not even Del Negro’s sharing in the blame will do anything to deliver Davis from the lingering questions about whether or not he can be the leader of this team. It always comes back to BD, doesn’t it? Once again, his ability to take a young but talented team over the hump is being questioned: