Most who saw the Clippers lose a heart-breaker in San Antonio on Friday would have expected a lackluster effort in Houston on Saturday.
Vinny Del Negro did not expect it, and was anything but pleased with his team afterward.
L.A. not only lost to a Rockets team playing without James Harden, who sat out with a foot injury, but lost big. The Clippers were blown out 98-81, and the effort did not at all sit well with the team’s head coach.
For 3 minutes, 25 seconds, Del Negro verbally destroyed his team for its performance, citing lack of effort, toughness, execution and concentration for the unexpected loss.
“They played harder than we did,” Del Negro said. “We were terrible. Our effort was terrible. Our attitude was terrible. Our urgency was terrible. I’m very disappointed. I didn’t see the fight in us tonight. We need guys to step up.
“We were soft. We were sloppy. Our urgency was poor. Our defense was poor. Our transition defense was poor. Our post defense was poor. Our pick-and-roll defense was poor. I could go on and on.”
Just the night before, the Clippers were engaged in a battle on the road against the team with the best record in the Western Conference, and it was an emotionally draining one at that, given that the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
With Harden sitting this one out, and given the intensity level the Clippers played at just 24 hours prior to this one, the drop off in effort is somewhat understandable.
Del Negro, however, can’t afford to agree, considering that his prospects of continued employment with the franchise beyond this season are directly related to how far the Clippers can advance into the postseason.
And obviously, they won’t go very far by putting forth unfocused efforts like this.