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Clippers Score a Season-Low 76 Points in Losing 10th Straight

January 10, 1988|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

LANDOVER, Md. — Coach Gene Shue has lost his patience with the Clippers.

Shue has reason to be down on his team, which extended its losing streak to 10 with a 108-76 loss to the Washington Bullets Saturday night at the Capital Centre.

It was the Clippers' lowest point total of the season. They have lost their last 7 games by margins of 19, 19, 37, 16, 16, 14 and 32 points.

"There was nothing I can say that was positive from this performance tonight," Shue said after the Clippers (8-22) lost for the 12th time in 13 games. "We were terrible. We couldn't do anything right.

"I have tried to show patience because I'm a very patient person. But things will have to change. My patience is wearing thin. I'll do what I have to do. The players who are doing their job will be the players who play."

Center Benoit Benjamin, who hasn't been doing his job very well, got a quick hook.

Benjamin, who had 2 points and 1 rebound, was benched with 8 minutes left in the first half and did not return.

Said Benjamin: "If he (Shue) doesn't want to play me, I'm not going to sit out there and look angry," Benjamin said. "Everyone on the team knows we can't win without me. "There's nothing wrong with me, and it's not my problem to worry about what's wrong with the team. I'm not the coach.

"I don't know what I was doing that was so bad. I went out there and I hustled."

Shue said Benjamin will start in the Clippers next game, Monday night against the Indiana Pacers.

"Ben knows what he has to do," Shue said. "It's very simple. He's got to rebound and play defense. We will find the right combination at some point, even if it's all rookies."

Said Clipper guard Mike Woodson, who scored a team-high 15 points: "I hope Ben comes around and gets back to the way he was playing. But it's not just Ben. I haven't seen one man win an NBA championship by himself. You can't blame it on him."

Said guard Larry Drew: "We don't have any chemistry. Things aren't happening for us. We look too raggedy."

Added forward Michael Cage, who had 13 points and 9 rebounds: "We don't have a sense of direction. We have different lineup every quarter. But I've got to believe that we can change it, that we can survive."

The Clippers collapsed in the second quarter against the Bullets.

Washington blitzed Los Angeles, 10-0, in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second quarter and outscored the Clippers, 22-6, in the first 8 minutes 16 seconds of the quarter to turn the game into a rout.

"It was the worst game we've played since we got blown out (46 points) in Denver in the opener," Woodson said.

The Clippers shot just 28% in the second quarter, missing 18 of 25 shots. They finished shooting just 33%.

Another problem arose when Reggie Williams, the Clippers' top draft pick, suffered a pulled muscle in his left leg when he landed hard on the court late in the third quarter. Williams, who was examined by Dr. Herb Singer, the Bullets' team physician, said he probably won't play against the Pacers.

"The doctor said it was a muscle pull, but I can't lift my leg," Williams said. "It happened when I was trying not to run into (Washington guard Tyrone) Muggsy Bogues, and I twisted my leg to avoid him."

The Bullets, who got off to a miserable start this season, appear to have turned things around under new Coach Wes Unseld, who took over after Kevin Loughery was fired last week.

Washington (10-20) has won two of three since Unseld was hired. They posted their largest margin of victory this season in the win over the Clippers. It might have been worse if Unseld hadn't given Bernard King (22 points) and the rest of his starters the fourth quarter off. But Unseld didn't want to rub it on on Shue.

"Gene was my first pro coach and my last pro coach," Unseld said. "If anybody can turn it around, he can. He works harder than anyone I've ever seen."

Unseld hasn't made any changes since he became a head coach after only 27 games as an assistant.

"The Boston Celtics have been running the same offense for 37 years," Unseld said. "I've changed a couple things, but nothing major."

Clipper Notes

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