Reporting from Philadelphia — They still were talking about the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday at practice, a conversation all the Clippers were not shying away from.
Some of it was because Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro forced his team to watch a lengthy film session at practice so they could get a clear visual of their play against Cleveland.
But most of it was because the players took ownership of their own poor, no-energy effort against the Cavaliers during Wednesday night’s loss.
Del Negro called the Clippers out after the game.
The players responded by challenging themselves at practice.
“It helps because it gives everybody an opportunity to see what happens and how it happens, and then it’s all about accountability,” Chris Paul said. “That’s what we preach.
“We all spoke up. The coaches didn’t have to do much of anything today. That’s the thing about having veterans on this team. When you see different things on the films, there’s no excuses.”
The Clippers played their first game Wednesday since the news came down that Chauncey Billups would be out for the remainder of the season because of a torn left Achilles’ tendon.
That shouldn’t have affected the Clippers, Caron Butler said.
“Losing Chauncey is one thing, but the margin of error is smaller because of that,” Butler said. “We watched film and we’re going to learn from the mistakes that happened. Everything that we watched today was correctable, so that’s a good thing. And we’ve got the personnel to be better. It’s just a mind-set thing. We all look forward to tomorrow.”
The Clippers play the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, an opportunity to see how much they have learned.
“We’re going to police ourselves and hold guys accountable and just try to win games,” Butler said.
Butler as leader
With Billups out, Butler said it’s now time for him to become more of a vocal leader.
He said he’ll talk more with his teammates than he did in the past.
He had let Paul and Billups handle that duty.
“I’ve kind of been like the dude that’s kind of been tiptoeing around, just holding my peace and saying what needed to be said,” Butler said. “Chauncey was such a huge figure in the locker room that a lot of things that you wanted to say or need to say, you kind of just piggybacked on what he said already. I’d give Chris and Chauncey a chance to do what they do. But I’m going to be more vocal.”
Shaq picks Griffin on his team
Besides being selected a starter for the Western Conference All-Stars, Clippers power forward Blake Griffin will join a list of 18 players who will play in the Rising Stars Challenge, to be played on Feb. 24 during the All-Star weekend in Orlando.
Rather than have a rookies-versus-sophomores game as in past years, those groups will be mixed together.
TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will coach the teams.
O’Neal won the coin flip for the draft to earn the first overall pick during TNT’s “Inside the NBA” announcement of the NBA All-Star reserves on Thursday.
It was clear from O’Neal’s comments who he was picking first.
“Blake Griffin, let’s go get this trophy,” O’Neal said. “Let’s go get it, Blake.”