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Clippers hold hour-long, closed-door meeting after ugly loss

Mar 16, 2012, 6:35 PM EDT

Vinny Del Negro, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin AP

The Clippers blew a 12-point fourth quarter lead at home to a Phoenix Suns team playing without Steve Nash or Grant Hill. That is pretty much the textbook definition of an ugly loss.

The Clippers have had a number of losses lately, most accompanied by some poor end-of-game execution. Take the ball out Chris Paul’s hands at the end of games — as the Celtics did Monday night — and the Clippers do not quickly go to a counter like an experienced team. They just flounder. Then after the game coach Vinny Del Negro will talk about “flow” and “effort.”

There is something amiss. Which is why the Clippers met for an hour with the doors closed after an ugly loss to the Suns Thursday night. Fellow NDHS grad Arash Markazi wrote about it at ESPNLosAngeles.com:

“It was how we lost, it looked like we almost tried to lose the game,” Clippers guard Chris Paul said. “When you’re at home and you are where we are in the standings, you can’t lose games like that. There’s no way we should have lost that game. We had that game won.”

Several players stood up in the meetings and voiced their concern about issues on the court, ranging from defensive assignment to communication.

“It was very productive,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. “It wasn’t a point the finger at somebody meeting, it was good. We got veterans in this locker room. I can’t say that it would have gone the same way last year. It wasn’t about guys getting their feelings hurt or guys trying to hurt people’s feelings. This is real. We got a good team and we got to do better.”

I still think the Clippers are now where the Thunder were a year or so ago — a good team learning how to win, how to be elite. This is part of that process, and like any growth process it’s not painless. They are going to be awkward and uncoordinated at times like a 15 year old who had a six-inch growth spurt. But they can get through this and be a very dangerous team in the playoffs.

Whether Vinny Del Negro is the coach who can lead them through it is another question altogether.

  1. jeremywflores - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    And to think a lot of analysts had this team as a more legit contender than the Lakers…

  2. losangelasbasketball - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    First player meeting in Clipper history…team is still a joke to me until they get a serious coaching staff and their own arena…

    • oside760 - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:50 PM

      i agree with u about the coaching staff but hell no about playing ina different arena

  3. pnoy88 - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    D antoni
    Coaching the clippers next year, younheard it here first

    • oside760 - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      ya lets get ANOTHER coach that doesn’t like to play defense. thats exactly what the clippers need…

  4. oside760 - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    “Whether Vinny Del Negro is the coach who can lead them through it is another question altogether.”

    my thoughts exactly. hes not the right guy

  5. glink123 - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    I watched every Bulls game with VDN as their coach. Nice guy, awful X’s and O’s guy. Jerry Sloan would be a good choice.

  6. kenyanteg123 - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    I knew that the Clippers wouldn’t meet the expectations that they were supposed to meet. You have a great line up. Chris Paul, Randy Foye, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. Plus a deep bench. Even if the coaching staff isn’t doing its part, with all of that talent, they shouldn’t be losing to underachieving teams. They thought (Just like the Miami Heat last year and the New York Knicks this year) that they were going to be able to win because they acquired Chris Paul and were all “Lob City” this and “Kobe who?” that. They just aren’t mature. A bunch of young guys who think that just because they have a lot of talent, that they can win championships. It takes more than some star players to win (Sixers for example). You need chemistry, the right coaching, a winning mentality, defense, be able to stay healthy, and you need to have your mind and body altogether. The Clippers are young and I hope they turn it around, but until then, lets see how many titles Lob City will get you.

  7. geezy274 - Mar 18, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    GOTTA GET IT TOGETHER CLIPPERS!!!

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