A Little Direction From Second Unit

Their starters were beyond ineffective, which helped to explain a few things during the first 2 1/2 quarters of the Clippers’ loss Thursday against the Kings at Sacramento.

The Clippers’ shooting was abysmal, hovering around 26%, and they trailed by as many as 30 points, prompting interim Coach Dennis Johnson to clear the bench in the hope that someone -- anyone -- would provide a spark.

The second unit, which included rookies Melvin Ely, Marko Jaric and Chris Wilcox, helped the Clippers rally in the fourth quarter, making a runaway seem much closer by the final buzzer. A 93-83 loss looked good only in the box score, however.

“It’s not the point that it’s a bad sign,” Johnson said of turning to his reserves to salvage something from nothing. “It’s upsetting that you have to make moves like that to get something going. Chris, Melvin, Marko and Tre [Tremaine Fowlkes] played great. The first unit couldn’t hit shots.”


Lamar Odom was 0 for seven.

Cherokee Parks was two for four.

Sean Rooks was three for 11.

Corey Maggette was five for 12.

Andre Miller was two for 12.

“We were standing in the offense,” Johnson said when asked about the starters’ 12-for-46 shooting (26.1%). “We weren’t moving.”

The Clippers also weren’t getting back on defense, giving up easy layups and short jump shots. The Kings scored the game’s first 11 points by capitalizing on the Clippers’ inability to retreat after clanging shots off the rim and backboard.

“That was the first six or seven minutes of the game,” said Johnson, who bellowed repeatedly for his players to “get back” after each missed shot.



For what it’s worth, after Thursday’s loss to the Pacific Division-leading Kings, the Clippers are 12-34 against teams with .500 records or better.