Willis Reed will make his debut as coach of the New Jersey Nets against the Clippers tonight at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., in a game that matches the worst teams in the National Basketball Assn.
Reed, who quit as assistant coach of the Sacramento Kings to succeed Bob MacKinnon, the Nets' interim coach, takes over a team that is 12-42. Orlando Woolridge, the Nets' star forward and Reed's cousin, was suspended last week and is undergoing drug rehabilitation.
Center Benoit Benjamin of the Clippers played for Reed at Creighton. Reed left Creighton to take an assistant coaching job with the Atlanta Hawks. He left the Hawks last season to become an assistant to Sacramento Coach Bill Russell.
This will be Reed's second stint as an NBA head coach. Reed, who spent 10 seasons with the New York Knicks, coached the Knicks into the playoffs in 1977, but was fired 14 games into the next season.
The Clippers, who beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday to equal their win total of last season, are 12-40 and have lost 18 straight road games and 39 of their last 41 away from home.
The Clippers, who have lost 22 consecutive road games against Eastern Conference teams, play the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night and the Boston Celtics Friday. They end the trip Saturday in Chicago.