Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro talks to guard Chis Paul during a game in December.… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Reporting from Portland, Ore. — The focus Tuesday night had to be on the Portland Trail Blazers and not the Miami Heat team coming to Staples Center on Wednesday night.
The Heat brings excitement and hype wherever it goes with its Big Three — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade (who's questionable for the game because of a right foot injury) and Chris Bosh.
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said he didn't have to warn his team about looking ahead to the Heat, not with such a tough Trail Blazers team in sight.
"I've looked at some things, but my focus right now is the Portland game," Del Negro said. "Then after this game we'll watch this game, make our adjustments and then get into the Miami stuff."
Portland entered Tuesday night's game with a 5-0 record at the Rose Garden, 6-2 overall.
"Portland is playing as well and is as deep and is as good as any team in the league," Del Negro said. "So we better have our high beams on and we better be focused in on what we need to do here tonight and then worry about tomorrow tomorrow."
Del Negro sees no problems
Del Negro downplayed the skirmish between Blake Griffin and Portland forward Gerald Wallace that took place Jan. 1 at Staples Center during the Clippers' 93-88 win over the Trail Blazers.
"Blake is an emotional player," Del Negro said. "That's one of the things that makes him special. He has a chip on his shoulder and he wants to get better and he wants to improve and he's very competitive and he wants to win."
Griffin has been known to complain to officials about a non-call, often throwing his hands in the air and glaring at them. Del Negro said Griffin has made improvements in that area.
"Sometimes it's hard to ref Blake because he likes the contact," Del Negro said. "He's looking for contact. As he gets a little more years under his belt, I think referees will get a better feel for how to ref him on more of a consistent basis. Blake will get a little bit more of an understanding of the referees and where he can take advantage of that."
Paul to host charity bowling event
Clippers guard Chris Paul will host his celebrity bowling charity event Thursday along with the Professional Bowlers Assn. at Lucky Strike Lanes at L.A. Live, across the street from Staples Center.
Paul, an avid bowler, started the event when played for the New Orleans Hornets to benefit charities supported by his CP3 Foundation. This will be his fourth time hosting the fundraiser.
The event runs from 7-10 p.m., with the red carpet starting at 6:30 p.m.
Among those expected to attend are Griffin, Miami Dolphins running back and former USC star Reggie Bush and Fox NFL analyst and former New York Giant defensive end Michael Strahan.
The event will be taped for broadcast by ESPN on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, at 1 p.m. (PST).