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CLIPPERS FYI : Oh, to shape up sans shake-up

November 15, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Debacle ... The Day After.

So what happens next -- other than the Clippers getting on the plane to fly to Oklahoma City -- after Friday's mind-boggling collapse, in which Toronto rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat the Clippers, 104-89?

Tone and attitude would suggest a major shake-up for the Clippers, at least the way team officials were looking after the dust cleared against the Raptors. Frankly, change would be looming for almost any sports team in any league after such a series of debacles.

The Clippers won just two of their first 12 games when they made a big trade last season, the big piece being Zach Randolph, who was acquired in a multiplayer deal with the New York Knicks on Nov. 21.

They are 3-7, and questions are coming fast and furious about a shake-up, in particular about General Manager and Coach Mike Dunleavy's future.

"It's tough," said leading scorer Chris Kaman on Saturday after practice. "I think that's the first time where we've been up and we gave it away. It's almost like we were too up, too early. We just didn't do our part to finish it.

"I'm not really sure what they're going to do as far as any of that goes, whether it's players, coaches, whatever it may be. Right now we need to get a fair shot with this team with Blake and Eric back and healthy."

That would be Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, who are both out with lingering injuries.

Al Thornton was asked whether there was the thought, or concern, that changes needed to be made after a loss like that.

"Maybe so, maybe so," he said.

Nothing major, in terms of a deal, appears close, though something smaller could be in the works. And those familiar with owner Donald Sterling's thinking, in terms of Dunleavy, don't believe he is on the verge of making a sweeping change.

Injuries are one thing. But. . . .

"It's tough when you have someone who averages 20 points a game who is not playing, as well as a great defender," Kaman said of Gordon. "Excuses aside, we're still capable of winning games. We were up 22 points against a team with the players we had. We need to finish the game all the way."

Dunleavy echoed that thought Saturday:

"The first thing is to come in and say, 'Get your heads up, we've got work to do.' We're doing a lot of good things along the way here. We're just not finishing games off. We're giving so many extra possessions away."


Health watch

On top of his virus, Kaman needed some treatment for his right foot, a byproduct of Friday night.

"It's getting there," Kaman said of the virus. "A couple of more days and I'll be at the end of it."

Baron Davis, who had 17 points and seven assists against the Raptors, practiced Saturday before the team departed for Oklahoma City.

He had missed the morning shoot-around, and said after the game that he was ailing.

"Terrible," Davis said. "I do not feel good. Right now, I'm drained."

Terrible and drained. That just about summed up the whole night.



Clippers tonight


When: 4 PST.

Where: Ford Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980.

Records: Clippers 3-7, Thunder 5-4.

Record vs. Thunder: 0-1.

Update: This was supposed to have the trappings of a big-time event, the homecoming of the native son, No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin. The game was sold out not long after the NBA released its schedule. So much for those grand plans. Griffin and Eric Gordon (sore left groin) will be staying behind on this three-game trip to attend to rehabilitation duties. Griffin will start more extensive rehab on his left knee beginning Monday.

-- Lisa Dillman

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