Clippers Showing Added Intensity?
There’s a distinct static that hovers over a team that’s trapped in a downward spiral. You could feel that buzz on Saturday morning at Staples Center — almost as if there was a fluorescent light tube on the fritz above Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro as he addressed the media prior to the Clippers’ 101-85 win over Memphis.
Del Negro did his best to diffuse the tension, which was palpable as he fielded questions about his job security. He ran through the litany of reasons the Clippers are underperforming — and stipulated that these weren’t, of course, excuses — then pledged on behalf of the team and coaching staff that everyone would do a better job going forward. He ended the presser with a wry smile.
“Nobody died,” Del Negro said. “Everybody relax. Take a deep breath. It’s OK.”
How close to the precipice Del Negro stood heading into the opener of a five-game homestand is a matter of debate, but the Clippers’ resounding performance on Saturday afternoon should cool the temperature beneath his seat. Intensity is a difficult thing to measure, and we often do so retroactively, ascribing wins to a heightened sense of urgency after the fact. But from the opening tip, Del Negro’s team showed an edge.