Everyone on the Clippers appreciates Lamar Odom’s unselfish style of play.
Everyone’s also been asking him to shoot more and they got their wish when Odom scored 18 points Saturday in a win over Utah.
“We need him to be able to do that,” Del Negro said. “It gives us another dimension when he’s hitting those shots, it opens up the floor. Not only was he taking good shots but I liked when he was facilitating off the dribble not for anybody but for himself to score.
“He’s physically feeling better, but we need him to be more aggressive like that. It doesn’t mean he’s always going to get 18 points or shoot that high a percentage, but the threat of him doing that changes everything for us when he’s that aggressive.”
It was not only the second time all season Odom had scored in double figures, it was only the second time he had reached double figures for shots. He made 8 of 15 from the field and 2 of 3 on 3-pointers.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro has learned a few tricks about coaching since his playing days, and one of them is to be at least receptive to input from the players.
To a degree, of course.
“I’m a firm believer in if it’s something the players feel can help us or put us in an area of strength, that’s the biggest part of my job — to help players play with confidence, learn, improve but also play at strength,” Del Negro said before Tuesday’s game against Charlotte.
“It doesn’t mean we always use them, but it’s also . . . if we see something, I’m open to that. It doesn’t mean we’re always going to make that adjustment whether it’s offensively or defensively, but I think it gives the players a chance to rake some ownership in what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and they have to go execute it.”
In other words, it had better be a good idea.
What looked like a breather for the Clippers got a little more problematic as they approached game tonight.
They might be playing the Charlotte Bobcats (13-43), the team with the NBA’s worst record, but the Clippers (40-18) were scrambling with the loss of two, if not three, regulars for a game that will be broadcast on Prime Ticket.
Guard Jamal Crawford’s fiancee gave birth to their daughter on Monday and Crawford was not available. He will rejoin the club when it travels to Indianapolis for Thursday’s game against the Pacers.
Guard Eric Bledsoe will also be held out of the game with a sore left calf, an injury he picked up last Thursday against San Antonio. Coacgh Vinny Del Negro said Bledsoe’s status is day-to-day. In addition, reserve forward Grant Hill is struggling with a sore back.
The adjustments Del Negro could make will be increasing Chauncey Billups’ playing time. Willie Green, a starting guard until Billups came back to crack the starting lineup, will likely see more action.
But most importantly for the Clippers: “We have to worry about ourselves and not other teams’ records,” Del Negro said.
Eric Bledsoe will also not be able to go with the Clippers tonight due to a sore left calf. Coach Vinny Del Negro said Bledsoe is “day-to-day.”
Jamal Crawford, a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year this season, will miss tonight’s game due to the birth of a daughter.
Before the Clippers took the court Saturday against Utah, their composure was under scrutiny from outside and within.
They picked up three in a loss to San Antonio, acknowledged they’d have to find that level-headed balance, and then picked up two more during their 107-94 victory.
Blake Griffin had the evil-eye for any official in the neighborhood just about every time he attacked the basket. He wasn’t shy about his opinions from the bench, either.
Late in the second quarter, while on the court, he was hit with his 11 th technical foul of the season, one off the league “lead.”
Jamal Crawford picked up his sixth later in the game. With Matt Barnes (10) and DeAndre Jordan (8) and Lamar Odom (5), it’s starting to dawn on the Clippers that this might not be a trend in the right direction.
“It’s a mind over matter type of thing,” Griffin said. “You just have to be mentally strong and I didn’t do a good job, especially in the first half, of not letting it affect me, not letting whatever else was going affect my game. We have to do a better job, I have to do a better job. It’s really just a mind-set.”
The subject was basically the first thing Paul volunteered after the game.
“We’ve got to do a better job with the officials, obviously, because we’re not on the best side of it with the techs, the delay-of-games,” Paul said. “We’ve just got to worry about playing the game.
“It’s tough. We’ve got a lot of aggressive guys on our team. At times you feel like you get fouled and stuff. We’ve just got to do better with it.”