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Vinny Del Negro vents his own March madness after Clippers' loss

The coach is angry at his team following their 114-91 loss to Oklahoma City. Derek Fisher makes his debut for the Thunder.

March 21, 2012|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Oklahoma City — Vinny Del Negro was mad — mad enough to be heard yelling at his Clippers in the locker room after the game, mad enough to admit to the media that he expressed his anger at his players.

The Clippers coach used words like "approach," "compete" and "defense" in his emphatic message after the Clippers dropped a 114-91 game to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

"I'm big into how you approach games and how you compete," Del Negro said. "We have to get the mentality of we have to play a certain way to win right now.

"And it has to be through our defense because we lack certain things. In order for us to score enough points to take pressure off of us, we have to be able to guard better.

"But our overall approach and everything to the game has to be better. That's what is disappointing to me. We have to do a better job of being in the moment from the get-go and not waiting to get into the game."

Del Negro got his first technical foul of the season.

The Clippers gave up more than 100 points for the second straight game in their three-games-in-three-nights trip that finishes in New Orleans on Thursday.

Oklahoma City had its way with the Clippers, shooting 53.8% from the field and 40.9% (nine for 22) from three-point range.

The Thunder outrebounded the Clippers, 49-31.

The Thunder had more assists, 20-19.

The Thunder destroyed the Clippers in the paint, scoring 44 points to L.A's. 22.

"I don't know the answers," said Chris Paul, who had 13 points and 10 assists but was just three for 12 from the field. "We've got to figure it out. It's getting to be a little bit embarrassing."

Kevin Durant pierced the Clippers for 32 points on 10-for-18 shooting.

Russell Westbrook had 19 points.

Derek Fisher, the former Laker who worked a buyout from Houston after L.A. traded him to the Rockets, scored five points for the Thunder hours after signing a free-agent contract with the team earlier in the day.

"We've got to be better," Paul said. "We've got to figure out ways to score easier. Most of all, we've got to defend. They scored on basic plays against us and we've got to be willing to defend better in order to give ourselves a chance."

The Clippers shot just 36.7% from the field.

Blake Griffin scored a career-low seven points. He was just three for 11 from the field.

"I just missed a lot of easy shots," Griffin said. "I missed a lot of easy ones I normally make. Things like that happen."

Caron Butler didn't play because Del Negro wanted to rest his small forward for the third game of the trip.

So Randy Foye, who had been the starter at shooting guard after Chauncey Billups suffered a season-ending left Achilles' tendon injury, was back in the starting lineup.

Foye finished with 23 points, and he spoke about what Del Negro was trying to get accomplished with his tirade.

"His message was basically look yourselves in the mirror," Foye said. "No one person can do it by themselves, and he's absolutely right. Not one person on this team can do it by themselves. You need everybody.

"You need guys who don't play. You need guys who do play, and the guys that don't play, you need them the most because you need them as the extended coaches."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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