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Pro Basketball | CLIPPER REPORT

Gentry Rips His Players' Work Ethic

November 27, 2001|Elliott Teaford

A day after watching his team nearly squander a 21-point lead in a too-close-for-comfort victory over the Houston Rockets, Clipper Coach Alvin Gentry halted practice to deliver an angry lecture to his players Monday.

Very little of it was fit to be printed in a newspaper. But the bottom line was that it's time for the Clippers to grow up and act like adults.

"The thing I'm most disappointed in is that I think our focus and our attention spans are not very good," Gentry told reporters later. "The difference between a good team and a bad one is the good ones come to practice after a win and work even harder. For some strange reason, we seem to think we've got this entitlement thing going. We think we're entitled to be a good team. The only thing we're entitled to is working our tails off.

"We're not going to be a good team until we put all the horseplay behind us. We'll have our moments and we'll win some games when we look great, and then we'll take a big step backwards. It's all focus."

Or lack thereof, according to Gentry.

"I'm not a hall monitor," he said. "I'm here to make the team play to the best of its ability."

When someone mentioned that the Clippers' average age of 24.8 years was the youngest of any NBA team on opening night, Gentry said, "It's no excuse. I refuse to use it as an excuse. That was cute last year."

And the rant continued.

"We all know the difference between right and wrong," Gentry said. "We all have children who know the difference between right and wrong. All that being young stuff won't play anymore. I think we're immature. We've got to work on it. Nothing comes easy. Except failure."

The Clippers have a 6-8 record after defeating the Rockets, 90-83, Sunday at Staples Center. But they have lost several games after building second-half leads.

"The one thing about this group is that they're all bright guys," Gentry said. "They understand what it takes to be a great player and the work that comes with it. The question becomes, do they want to put in the hard work?"


After spending three games in a reserve role, small forward Lamar Odom is expected to start Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Gentry started Corey Maggette in that spot while Odom was serving an eight-game drug suspension.

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