HOUSTON — Coach Alvin Gentry went off on a rant after the Clippers' lackluster practice at a suburban gym Wednesday, the day after a 109-98 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the season opener.
"A wasted day," Gentry said. "The season has started and we've got to focus. We're in the NBA. We've got to act like professionals. This is our job--to come to play every day. That excuse about us being a young team is [bunk]."
According to center Michael Olowokandi, the team was simply trying too hard to please Gentry and made numerous mistakes at the start of the two-hour practice.
"I don't think there was a lack of intensity," Olowokandi said. "I think we were trying too hard to get everything right. In basketball, you have to play freely. We were just messing up. We turned the ball over a lot, but it wasn't guys being sloppy. I think we got something out of this practice."
Gentry felt otherwise.
"They should be prepared to play every time they step on the court," he said. "We're never going to be a good team until we learn that. Being young is no excuse. You play the way you practice.
"We all have different agendas right now. Until we all get on the same page we're not going to be a good basketball team. For some strange reason we get this idea that we can just turn it off and turn it on. I don't know what would give us that indication.
"Last year, we practiced hard, we were committed to each other and we played hard. Until we do that this season, we're going to struggle."
And there was more.
"The games count now," Gentry said. "It doesn't matter what we did in preseason games or in training camp. It matters what we do right now. And right now, our focus is zero in what we're trying to get done. We can be good because we practice hard and work hard and play together. That's the only way we can be good."
at Houston, 5:30 PST, Fox Sports Net 2
Records--Clippers 0-1, Rockets 1-0.
Record vs. Rockets (2000-01)--3-1.
Update--The Rockets needed 23 points from guard Steve Francis plus overtime to defeat the Atlanta Hawks, 89-84, in their opener Tuesday. Houston made only 33 of 84 shots (39.3%) in kicking off the post-Hakeem Olajuwon era.