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Johnson Is Not Going Quietly Into Off-Season

Times Staff Writer

Dennis Johnson hasn’t been bashful about speaking his mind about the Clippers’ lackluster play since he took over for Alvin Gentry as coach March 4.

Johnson also hasn’t been afraid to keep his starters on the bench for extended minutes if things haven’t gone well, and with a 3-11 record as the team’s interim coach, things have gone rather poorly.

“It’s been a tough season,” he said. “Since I came in [as coach], everybody has been getting a good amount of minutes. One thing I’m not afraid to do is sub if somebody is not playing the right way.”

With the Clippers headed toward a double-digit loss Thursday against the Sacramento Kings, Johnson sat his starters for the fourth quarter. It wasn’t his first choice, but with the reserves taking advantage of their extended minutes, the Clippers trimmed a 75-45 deficit in the third quarter to only 89-83 in the final minute.

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“In the end, it’s still a loss,” Johnson said of the Clippers’ 50th loss. “There were a lot of positives in that the second unit showed some movement. They were trying some different things. We’ve had six or seven practices together now, so they all should know what to do by now.”

*

TONIGHT

vs. Memphis, 6, Fox Sports Net

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Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- XTRA (1150).

Records -- Clippers 22-50, Grizzlies 26-46.

Record vs. Grizzlies -- 1-1.

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Update -- The Clippers have lost four consecutive games and 16 of their last 20, finding themselves ahead of only the Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers in the league’s overall standings. The Clippers trail the Grizzlies by four games with 10 to play. Memphis is coming off a 95-71 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday. The teams play again next week at Memphis, the first stop on the Clippers’ five-game trip.


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