Vinny Del Negro didn’t want to talk about personal milestones Wednesday night. He ignored a question about his 100th victory as the Clippers’ coach, a grinding 99-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks in front of a sellout crowd of 19,362 at Staples Center.
Del Negro groaned about turnovers, about inconsistent defense, about the big picture, about poor execution, about a lackluster start, about the Mavericks’ offensive strength, about turnovers (again), about trying to halt Dirk Nowitzki and about turnovers (again).
“We got the job done,” he said after the Clippers extended their home-court winning streak to 13 games and improved their league-leading overall record to 28-8. “It wasn’t a very productive game. We didn’t play particularly well. … We kept them in the game.”
Del Negro then admitted he didn’t know Wednesday’s victory was his 100th as Clippers coach. Asked if it held any significance for him, he said simply, “No.”
Others thought differently.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Lamar Odom, in his second stint with the Clippers.
In fact, Del Negro became the fastest to reach 100 wins in the franchise’s history. He needed only 184 games to reach the century mark. Jack Ramsay held the previous mark of 100 wins in 223 games while coaching the Buffalo Braves.
“It’s great,” Del Negro said. “It’s all about winning. We won, but we’ve got to play a lot better.”
Said Blake Griffin when asked about Del Negro’s 100th: “When the team is showing a lot of excitement, there is a lot of attention to how we play. I think that (coaching success) can be overlooked sometimes. Yes, he can get overlooked, but as a team we all know that this is a collective effort. It is not just one guy and it is not just the players. Overall, it’s a group.”