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CLIPPERS FYI

Coach Vinny Del Negro says Clippers didn't put the effort in

'We didn't really give ourselves a chance,' he says, adding the Hawks responded better with backs to the wall. Clippers have to beat Knicks to earn home-court advantage in first round of playoffs.

April 24, 2012|By Broderick Turner

ATLANTA — Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro wasn't happy with his team, going off on players after a lackluster effort against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

"They outworked us. They outrebounded us," Del Negro said. "They got loose balls. We didn't really give ourselves a chance.… I didn't think our starters were very good. I didn't think our bench was very good and that's what you get."

Blake Griffin (36 points) and Chris Paul (34 points) were the only starters to score in double figures.

The bench that had played so well for the Clippers in recent games had a combined 19 points, four rebounds and three assists.

With so much at stake, Del Negro was asked why the effort was lacking.

The Clippers knew they needed just one more victory to get the home-court advantage over Memphis in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Now the Clippers have to beat New York on Wednesday night to start the best-of-seven series at Staples Center this weekend.

"Inexperience, young. You can make a bunch of excuses about it," Del Negro said. "The bottom line is you've got to go out and perform and I thought we got outworked tonight. Their (Hawks) backs were against the wall too and ours were. I thought they outworked us.

"Maybe we've got to take some more vitamins, some more energy drinks, whatever we've got to do. But I didn't like the start of the game."

Griffin, who had his technical foul from Sunday's game rescinded, leaving him with 11, shrugged off the comment about the team's effort.

"It could have been better," Griffin said. "You can say that a lot. So, we've got to forget about it. We've got to turn around [for] a game tomorrow. That's our main focus. We can't sit here and dwell on that."

Del Negro wasn't done with his rant.

"I'm not happy because of the effort, the energy," Del Negro said. "You've got to compete, man, You've got to fight.… At this stage of the season, everyone is fighting for something. You've got to go out there and want it. You've got to be angry, [upset], have an edge."

He was asked how to inspire a better effort out of the team Wednesday night against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

"Well, I'm going to kick them in the [behind]," Del Negro said. "How about that? There you go."

And with that, Del Negro walked away.

Etc.

Caron Butler, who left after the first quarter of Sunday's game with a left hip contusion, played Tuesday night. He had just nine points. Nick Young, who didn't attend Sunday's game because of the flu, played against the Hawks. He had five points.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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