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Tag:Vinny Del negro
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:57 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:07 am
 

Paul's pretty 4th quarter saves ugly night

Posted by Ben Golliver

Chris Paul shot the Clippers past the Blazers in a strong fourth quarter performance. (Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- An anticipated four quarter battle for power forward supremacy was replaced by one quarter of point guard brilliance.  

The Los Angeles Clippers faced the Portland Trail Blazers for the third time this season, the teams having split the first two match-ups. Instead of the latest installment of LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Blake Griffin -- All-Star vs. All-Star -- the Rose Garden crowd was treated one of the ugliest "lockout" games of the season, as Aldridge was forced to sit for the second straight game with a sprained left ankle he suffered on Tuesday night.

The Clippers pulled it out, 74-71, with the flat, ugly game being broken open in the fourth by Chris Paul, who managed to find a way to turn a manure night into gold down the stretch. 

Through three quarters, Paul was 0-for-7 with three turnovers. An 85 percent career free throw shooter, he even missed a technical foul during the first minute of the second half. In the final quarter, though, Paul shot 5-for-8 to finish with 13 points. He had two of his four steals in the fourth, nailed a three-pointer with roughly three minutes remaning and then sank a jumper with just over a minute left to send large swaths of the crowd th the exits early.

"It's just a matter of time before Chris starts taking over the game," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "When it gets close he wants the ball in his hands, not only to score but to make the easy plays… Having Chris out there to control things is a great weapon."

"All the shots I missed are shots I can make with my eyes closed," Paul said. "I pride myself on the last two or three minutes of the game. If we're up two, or down one, I pride myself on managing situations, [forcing] turnovers, getting good shots. I'm used to it."

Turnovers were in abundance and good shots were not fort both sides. The Blazers scored more than 17 points in just one of the four quarters: 27 in the first. The Clippers never broke 22 in a quarter. The teams combined for 34 turnovers, the Clippers shot 2-for-17 from deep and the Blazers, not including Nicolas Batum, combined to shoot 19-for-55 (34.5 percent). Griffin worked hard for 21 points and 14 rebounds, dealing with all sorts of defensive looks along the way, but no one else, not even Paul, left this game with a complete night.

Blazers guard Raymond Felton probably captured the flavor of the evening better than anyone, failing to make a basket in seven attempts while throwing a ball into the stands, stepping on the sideline, and chucking a pass off of Kurt Thomas's ankles while he was standing 25 feet from the basket. He wound up sitting during crunch time, as fellow guard Jamal Crawford was only able to do slightly better.

"We didn't execute, of course, down the stretch," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We basically got stagnant and it became a one on one basketball game."

The extenuating circumstances that led to that type of game were clear. Portland was on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back, made worse by the middle game being at Golden State. The Clippers were on the second night of a back-to-back themselves. L.A. managed to have the legs when it mattered, taking the final quarter, 22-11, to win their first game in Portland since Dec. 11, 2008.

"I've been in this situation time and time again," Paul said, amid shrieks of laughter from his teammates in the showers. "When you're in games like this it comes down to certain plays, teams tighten up. It all comes down to who makes the big plays."

The Blazers certainly tightened up, giving away an 18-point third quarter lead and dropped to 2-10 in games decided by five points or less. Portland has handled late-game situations uneasily even with Aldridge, their No. 1 scorer. Without him their possessions often amounted to hopeless prayers. 

"I'll call it a self-destruction," McMillan said. 

That self-destruction included Felton's follies and an inability to engage Batum, who scored 15 first quarter points but finished with 19, missing his only fourth quarter attempt. With Portland coming up empty play after play, the door opened wide for Paul.

"I don't now if he was playing possum or if he found the energy in the fourth quarter to keep going, but he definitely took over the game," Crawford said.

"It's the fourth quarter, it's one of those things where nothing else really matters," Paul explained. "When you're a team trying to build something like us, you've got to win ugly games like this sometimes."

Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 2:05 pm
 

Easy start now over for Los Angeles Clippers

Posted by Ben Golliver

clippers-team 

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The most repeated line of this lockout-shortened season is certainly this: “The schedule doesn’t do anyone any favors.” On Tuesday, those words finally became completely accurate.

Through Monday, it was true for 29 out of the 30 NBA teams. The Los Angeles Clippers, though, received plenty of favors from the season’s first two weeks, playing just six games in the first 16 days. Entering Tuesday night’s game at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Clippers were the only team that hadn’t played at least eight games this season. Half of those Clippers’ opponents– the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks – are likely lottery teams.  

The Clippers had played just one game every 2.7 days entering Tuesday's action; Over the next seven weeks leading up to the February All-Star break, Los Angeles will play 25 games in 44 days, a game every 1.8 days.

Among those 25 games: the Los Angeles Lakers twice, the Denver Nuggets three times, the defending champion Dallas Mavericks twice, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Blazers again, the San Antonio Spurs and, on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat. In all, Lob City will play six back-to-backs and a back-to-back-to-back between now and the next Slam Dunk Contest sponsored by Kia.

NBA commissioner David Stern gifted them an all-world floor general and the schedule-makers granted the new-look league darlings a soft launch, but now things get real.

The brutal stretch got off on the wrong foot on Tuesday, a 105-97 loss to the Blazers that was marred by foul trouble for Chris Paul and early struggles for All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Griffin overcame a 2-for-8 start to finish 9-for-17 for 18 points and 12 rebounds, but he was stripped of the ball on a critical late-game possession and showered with boos normally reserved for the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Garnett as he protested, or sought, foul calls.

“We have competitive guys, we just have to do a better job with our spacing offensively,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said afterwards. “More so, just locking in defensively. I thought that they got some easy penetration on us. We have to continue to work with our big guys and get through some things to get them on the same page with our new guards.”

The early numbers reveal Del Negro’s Clippers, now 4-3 on the season, to be a one-sided bunch. Ranked as a top-3 offense, L.A. is a bottom-6 defense and the second worst team when it comes to rebounding rate. (Only the 1-8 Washington Wizards are worse.) Their offense is buoyed by Paul’s all-around play and the high-efficiency looks he generates for Griffin and Jordan, but there is a significant energy expense in creating the highlight reel plays, and it will be up to players like Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler to prove they can be consistent tertiary scoring options.

Billups and Butler kept L.A. in the game against the Blazers, scoring 39 combined points and getting to the foul line 11 times. Those efforts were spoiled because Paul was lost to foul trouble for much of the first half.

“It was some bogus stuff that was going on out there,” Paul said of the officiating. "You know what I mean? But it’s part of the game. I know those guys and they flop on you but it goes like that sometimes."

Paul finished with 11 points, 3 assists and two turnovers in 31 minutes,

“He got in some early foul trouble on some questionable calls,” Del Negro added. “He was a little bit tentative. He missed a couple of easy ones early and could never really get going.”

Although Del Negro went on to say, “We need everybody, it’s not just one guy,” the Clippers will need more from Paul, their blockbuster trade acquisition. While his shooting numbers are excellent, his scoring so far – 14.8 points per game – is down from previous years and his 8.4 assists are the fewest since his rookie year. He’s adjusting to new teammates, a new city and a new coach, so L.A.’s easy start was a major blessing.

But the loss to Portland was a reminder that, barring another major trade, this team will live-and-die with Paul’s effectiveness. The drop-off in talent after the Clippers’ top-6 guys is steep so dominance is required from CP3.

“Paul does a good job with defending,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “He reaches for the ball, he defends well and a couple of times early in the first half the officials caught it which really changed the tempo for them when he went out of the game.”

Blazers point guard Raymond Felton went hard at Paul throughout on Tuesday, finishing with 17 points and 8 assists, and Paul was not able to establish Griffin in the post until it was too late. Portland was content with letting Billups and Butler get their shots from outside, where L.A. is shooting just 31.4 percent as a team so far this season.

“Tonight we got more aggressive on the pick-and-roll defense, we were trapping the post-ups,” McMillan said. “We didn't let Griffin really play in the paint… The one thing we needed to do was be aggressive, make this team shoot from the outside, finish with the rebounds. I thought we did that.”

McMillan’s Blazers are, perhaps, the surprise team of 2011-2012, off to a 7-2 start when many predicted they would be a lower-seed playoff team. Tuesday’s win was revenge for a New Year’s Day shellacking in Los Angeles, when the Clippers beat Portland, 93-88, in a game that was much more one-sided than the final score indicated.

For all of Portland’s homecourt advantage – the Blazers are now 6-0 at the Rose Garden this season – and Paul’s foul trouble, and Griffin’s struggles, and L.A.’s lack of a bench, the Clippers were within 3 points with less than 30 seconds to play. One Paul steal from potentially stealing what would have been the early season’s signature win.

“That's a very good team over there,” McMillan said, knowing he dodged a bullet.

That the miracle comeback didn't happen helps keep the to-date progress in perspective for a team that is always one alley-oop away from being the most hyped team in the league.

We'll find out whether McMillan's prognosis of "very good" is accurate immediately. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company arrive at the Staples Center, smarting from an ugly overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Kobe Bryant, the 48-point man, is lurking in the background for a Saturday night Battle for L.A. Then three games in three nights to start next week. No sleep, really, until Orlando in late-February, where Paul and Griffin will surely be major centers of attention.

Welcome, Clippers, to the world of “no favors.” Glad you could make it.


Posted on: February 1, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: February 1, 2011 12:56 pm
 

Chris Kaman appears to be on the block

Posted by Royce Young

The Los Angeles Clippers are in transition right now. They're moving away from the big dollar veterans and focusing more on low cost youngsters.

Chris Kaman, who was an All-Star last season, has been out with a bad left ankle for most of the season. He hasn't played since Dec. 5 and there's no timetable for his return. And really, I'm not sure the Clippers are rushing him by any means.

Coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday that if you want to ask about Kaman's availability, just call.

"It depends on what is out there, if there is someone we feel makes us a better team," Del Negro told the Los Angeles Daily News. "We're not in a position not to take a look at everything. It's nothing against Chris. He has tremendous skills. I love him and we need him. But if there is something that would help improve the L.A. Clippers, we would look at anything."

You hear that NBA? Anything. They'll look at anything.

Of course what makes Kaman that much more expendable is the rise of DeAndre Jordan. The athletic seven-footer has become a true presence in the middle, complementing Blake Griffin's game perfectly. Kaman, who is 28, is an offensive center that is looking for 12-15 shot attempts a game. Jordan is fine taking four, with all of them being dunks.

Problem for the Clippers is that Kaman's value isn't near as high as it was two months ago. He's injured so a team looking to add him for help down the stretch isn't sure about what he's going to give. And on top of that, before going down, Kaman wasn't playing all that well. On the season, he's averaging 10.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in just 10 games.

What does make Kaman harder to move is his contract. He has two years left on it but at $24 million. He is an All-Star level big man though so a contending team might be interested in bringing him in for a playoff push. Again, the injuries though limits his value to a degree though.

The Clippers would certainly be doing themseves a favor in moving Kaman and fully embracing the youth movement. There's some actual, legitimate excitement and momentum around the franchise right now and it's because of the young talent. Jordan and Griffin are a big part of that. Not to say Kaman doesn't have big time ability, but for the Clippers, it's just better to let the young guys have their minutes. The season's already likely a wash, so just dedicate it to letting your horses get better.

Plenty of teams would be interested in Kaman I'm sure. And like Del Negro said, just pick up the phone.

Posted on: December 10, 2010 8:32 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:27 pm
 

Clippers: Kaman out 3+ weeks with ankle injury

The Los Angeles Clippers announced on Friday that center Chris Kaman will miss at least three weeks with an ankle injury. Posted by Ben Golliverchris-kaman Aside from the magical play of power forward Blake Griffin, it's been a tough start to the season for the 2010-2011 NBA season Los Angeles Clippers.  On Friday, the team announced more bad news: all star center Chris Kaman will miss at least three weeks due to an ankle injury. Here's the release from the team.
Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman will miss a minimum of three weeks due to an aggravated bone bruise and deltoid ligament sprain of his left ankle. Kaman was examined by team physician Dr. Steven Shimoyama after undergoing an MRI on Dec. 6. He was then was re-evaluated on Dec. 9 by Dr. Richard D. Ferkel. Kaman will wear a protective boot when not participating in assigned rehabilitation.
Kaman originally suffered the injury when he rolled his ankle in a game against the New Orleans Hornets in early November. His prognosis at the time was that he would miss 2-3 weeks, but obviously it's become a bit more serious than that. In Kaman's absence, head coach Vinny Del Negro has turned to center DeAndre Jordan, physical big man Craig Smith, the washed up Brian Cook and has used end-of-the-bencher Jarron Collins sparingly as well. Clearly, Kaman cannot return soon enough. Kaman averaged 10.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks per game in the 10 games he appeared in this season prior to the injury. He was an NBA all star last season. The Clippers are currently in last place in the Pacific Division, with a record of 5-18.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 1:32 pm
 

Game Changer 12.9.10: Gone Fish-ing

Wade's doing work on the left, Derek Fisher is a hero, and Vinny Del Negro's something else, all in today's Game Changer. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

WADE'S GONE LEFT

While Miami's reserves were finally earning their keep last night, Dwyane Wade was taking care of business, as usual. After some early season slump shooting, Wade has started to catch fire. The moves that you associate with Wade are coming back, like the pump fake drifting baseline J he drained last night for an and-one late in the game. Lost in all the LeBron James hoopa (and hatred) is the fact that Dwyane Wade really is an elite player in this league, and his 28 points on 14 shots last night was an excellent example. Twice in the second half, the Jazz backed off of Wade trying to contain his teammates and keep him in front of them. Wade calmly nailed a step-in three in the fourth quarter to put the game out of Utah's reach, killing the crowd.

The interesting thing about it? Wade was a little left-heavy last night. Here, take a look at his shot chart from our Game Tracker:



That's quite a bit of left-side shooting, there Wade. The Jazz defense constantly shaded right, and the result was this. It wasn't just Wade, though. Of LeBron James' 20 field goals, only 3 shots came from the right side outside of the paint. 

HERO OF THE DAY: DEREK FISHER

The Lakers couldn't be bothered to put any effort in for most of this game, and the Clippers played their hearts out, leading by seven in the fourth quarter. But, sadly, they discovered a disheartening fact. They're the Clippers.



Brutal.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT

Andrea Bargnani : 41 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists

Runner-Up:

Zach Randolph:
34 points, 17 rebounds

ROSE CONTINUES RISE

Derrick Rose's ability to take over games continues, as in a game that should not have been as close as it was, Rose finished the Cavaliers in a snow storm. On a crucial possession he slipped by his defender, got to the middle paint (which is his sweet spot), and hit an up-and-under dandy and-one to ice it for Chicago. Cleveland's final possessions were terribly managed by Byron Scott. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Speaking of terrible game management, how about Vinny Del Negro calling timeout late when his Clippers have the lead and momentum with an opportunity to ice the game against a completely winded Lakers team? The Lakers were primarily losing because of effort, but the fact that they were so short-handed on a back-to-back had a lot to do with it as well. They were completely gassed, but Vinny Del Negro let them off the hook with a timeout. So bad.

Lamar Odom wanted nothing to do with Blake Griffin by the end of last night's game. Griffin completely overwhelmed Odom on several possessions in the fourth quarter. Credit Phil Jackson with switching to Ron Artest late which caused two turnovers to help the Lakers close it out.

The announced attendance last night was just over 10,000 in New Orleans, well short of the 14,000 they need to average to avoid the opt-out free of penalty with the arena in case new ownership decides to move on. Not a good sign.
Posted on: June 30, 2010 1:10 pm
 

The Celtics are at a crossroads

You realize it was just three years ago that the Big 3 in Boston were formed? At the time, we knew that their window was short. All three were older, with only a few years left. After the first championship, it looked like they were destined for more. Then when the collapse in 2009 happened due to injury, we thought the window had slammed shut, and that carried through last season when they limped into the playoffs. Then they tore the East's head off and ate the remains, and going into the Finals it looked like everything was hunky-dorey. But even losing in the final minutes of a Game 7 aren't enough when the league moves as fast as the NBA does now.

And with the events of the past 48 hours, one thing is clear. The Celtics are at a crossroads.

Paul Pierce is opting out . Ray Allen is a free agent. And Doc Rivers is still trying to decide whether to come back or not. And all three of those decisions impact each other.

If Rivers comes back, he'll want to make sure he's contending for a title, not rebuilding. And Pierce and Allen will likely want to play for the coach that took them to the Finals, not Vinny Del Negro (no offense, Vinny).

So all sides have to come together to make another run at it, and then Danny Ainge has to decide exactly how much that run is worth. This is not an easy situation. You might say this is trickier than Amar'e Stoudemire in Phoenix or Dwyane Wade in Miami. The future in Boston is highly uncertain. They were unable to get to the summit with the squad as currently assembled. Do they believe they could get there with the same group a year older? Do they need home court advantage (read: should they actually try in the regular season?)? Do they have to upgrade? Are they willing to take a paycut to upgrade?

Rivers, to his credit, and unlike some other headline making coaches, is staying quiet . He's going to not say anything, make his decision, and live with it. Pierce is opting out, but there's no indication if he's doing so to make room for the team or to get the most he can or to explore his options elsewhere. After being dangled on the trade line, you can bet Ray Allen will be taking a good look around.

This team could be dramatically different next season, and that has impacts on Rajon Rondo, who would need to become the unquestioned leader of the team. For Kendrick Perkins, who will have surgery and won't be ready by the start of the season .

And where does that leave Kevin Garnett? All the Celtics have succeeded by one motto of staying together, playing together, fighting together. But the winds of change are at the door, and as a team, they have to decide what happens next.

Like I said, things move pretty quickly in the NBA. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss... wait. That's not right .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com