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Montrezl Harrell frustrated after Clippers loss: ‘We’re not a great team’

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LOS ANGELES — “They hate them.”

That was Clippers coach Doc Rivers 90 minutes before tip-off Saturday of a 12:30 p.m. game, foreshadowing his team’s performance against Memphis.

When the ball did go up, the sleepy Clippers got their doors blown off. At home. Memphis put up 40 points in the first quarter, led by as many as 18 early, and cruised to a 140-114 win in Staples Center where they were clearly the better team all afternoon.

Postgame, the Clippers had a lot more energy than they showed on the court — and they were their own harshest critics.

“We’re not a great team. We’re not a great team…” Clippers’ center Montrezl Harrell said. “I think that’s what we need to realize and wake up. We’re a team that still has to figure out things to win night in and night-out.”

“No defense, no communication, no energy…” is how Kawhi Leonard described the Clippers’ effort, noting this is not the first time Los Angeles has been flat like this. “We’ve had a lot of wake up calls. I feel like it’s the middle of the season and some of the mistakes that we’re making, we shouldn’t be making at this time.”

Things got so bad that in the fourth quarter that the 25-12 Clippers heard boos from the home fans.

“Us as a team that should wake you up,” Harrell said of the boos. “Losing by 20-plus points on your home floor, getting embarrassed, and booed by your home fans, that should wake anybody up.”

Does Doc Rivers know what his team’s identity is?

“No. And that’s a concern,” Rivers said postgame.

Part of that is injuries, the Clippers have had their full starting lineup and rotation for one game this season. On Saturday, both Patrick Beverley (wrist) and Paul George (tight hamstring) were out. Both could go Sunday against the Knicks.

That opened up room for Memphis rookie Ja Morant to operate, and he put on a show scoring 22 points. That included dropping Jerome Robinson (with a little shove), staring him down, and draining the three.

“We knew it was an early game, I’ve been part of a few, and the team that wants to play usually wins,” the Grizzlies Jae Crowder said. “We was preaching that in [the locker room], we wanted to throw the first punch and that’s what happened.”

Crowder wanted to play — he scored 27 and hit 6-of-11 from three. It’s the perfect game to showcase yourself for a trade to a contender… if you wanted that kind of thing.

Rivers is not freaking out over this one loss, particularly because this is a franchise that publicly and privately has said they are focused on being right for the playoffs, not a Saturday game in January. This is the ultimate big-picture team.

Rivers added he knows his team is not where it needs to be.

“I’m not alarmed because our record’s terrific,” Rivers said. “I just don’t think right now we’re ready yet, and I see that, but I’m not alarmed by it.

“I just don’t want us to think we’re good enough yet… because we’re not… We’re just not playing well.”

Vanessa Bryant powerfully and gracefully eulogizes Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant (video)

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The world lost a basketball superstar in Kobe Bryant.

Vanessa Bryant lost her husband and daughter.

I can barely even imagine what Vanessa is going through. Kobe and Gianna seemingly had long lives ahead of them. Then, both were gone in an instant. Vanessa has to manage her own grief, be there for her daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri and be receptive to an outside world that wants to pay tribute to Kobe.

The weight of everything Vanessa is carrying showed at the beginning of the eulogy she delivered at today’s memorial: “I’ll start with my baby girl first.”

Vanessa’s strength and composure are just incredible. And we’re luckier for it, getting a more intimate understanding of Kobe and Gianna.

Watch Kobe Bryant memorial live stream (video)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Thousands of mourners will gather in Staples Center on Monday to say farewell to Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

The basketball superstar and his 13-year-old daughter will be honored in a public memorial at the arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant died along with seven others on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

The Celebration of Life will feature speakers reflecting on Kobe Bryant’s impact on his sport and the world, along with music and retrospectives on Bryant’s on-court achievements. Bryant became active in film, television and writing after he retired from basketball in 2016.

Bryant’s family, dozens of sports greats and many major figures in Bryant’s public life are expected to attend.

Staples Center is sold out for the memorial. The money made from ticket sales will be given to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which supports youth sports programs in underserved communities and teaches sports to girls and women.

Bryant played his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, including the final 17 seasons at Staples Center, which opened in 1999. The five-time NBA champion’s two retired jersey numbers – 8 and 24 – hang high above the arena where he became the third-leading scorer in league history until Lakers star LeBron James passed him on the night before Bryant’s death.

Bryant’s death caused an outpouring of grief across Los Angeles, where he remained the city’s most popular athlete into retirement. Dozens of public memorials and murals have been installed around the sprawling metropolis, and thousands of fans gathered daily outside Staples Center to commiserate after the crash.

Symbolic meanings will run throughout the ceremony, which will be held on a 24-foot-by-24-foot stage. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, chose Feb. 24 as the date in honor of the uniform numbers of Kobe and Gianna, who wore No. 2 on her youth basketball teams.

A private funeral was held for Kobe and Gianna Bryant in Orange County on Feb. 7.

Lakers’ Rajon Rondo throws dead ball into air, hits Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in head

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What an unfortunate encapsulation of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s time with the Lakers.

At least Rajon Rondo, beyond this gaffe, did plenty to help the Lakers beat the Celtics.

Bucks’ minor-league coach goes on epic rant, calls ref ‘f—ing clown’ (video)

Bucks' minor-league affiliate Wisconsin Herd vs. Pistons minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids Drive
Mike E. Roemer/NBAE via Getty Images
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After coaching the Wisconsin Herd (Bucks’ minor-league affiliate) to a loss to the Grand Rapids Drive (Pistons’ minor-league affiliate), Chase Buford – son of Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – had a normal one.

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

Buford:

The officiating definitely went right for Grand Rapids. That was as unprofessional as an officiating performance. I hope you tweet this out and tag the league, because that was embarrassing. Matt Rafferty is a f—ing clown. That being said, we have to be so much better at the end of games. We can’t blow a 21-point lead with 12 minutes to go. However bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating the referees are, we have to be better at closing games. And so that’s the way I feel.

Herd:

The words are amazing: “f—ing clown,” “illegal,” “cheating.”

But the hair really completes the whole unhinged motif.