Los Angeles Clippers-Memphis Grizzlies: Understatements Abound

Jose SalviatiCorrespondent IINovember 19, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy argues a call during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on November 6, 2009 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

"We're a better team than we're showing right now." - Sebastian Telfair

"Today we just were not on the same page defensively." - Marcus Camby

"We're not unified. We're not all on the same page." - Baron Davis

"That's been our lack of success, on the defense end, rebounding the basketball and careless turnovers at times." - Camby

At least we know the Clippers aren't blind to their problems. 

The road trip that started with so much promise after a win in Oklahoma City ended with a loud thud.  Great teams look to win more than they lose on the road.  Good teams are satisfied with a .500 record away from home.  Bad teams get thumped.  I'll let you put the pieces of that puzzle together to see where the Clippers fit.

The Dunleavy watch is now officially underway.  Once the first coach drops (Byron Scott) every other coach in the league with a losing record is on notice.  Not that its at all fair. 

Eric Gordon has lost time, Kareem Rush is out for the year, Marcus Camby suffered a lower back injury and played sparingly today.  Factor in that Blake Griffin is still about a month away and the Clips 4-9 record seems understandable.  Take three starters and a key contributor off the bench from most any NBA team and they will struggle.

That all being said however it would surprise no one if Dunleavy takes the fall.  What a mistake that would be.  Dunleavy put this team together and deserves the right to see it whole and healthy before a determination on his future is made.

On the down side for Dunleavy and the Clippers is the fact that the team seems to be playing without any passion.  Undermanned or not there is no excuse for not bringing 100% each and every game. 

The great Chick Hearn coined the phrase "matador defense".  Defined as a lackluster, low-effort form of defense in which the defender simply reaches for the ball and then quickly pulls his hand away—similar to how a matador pulls his cape out of the way of a charging bull—as the offensive player drives by him for an easy shot at the hoop.

Hearn coined it, the Clippers perfected it.  The Clippers turned it into an art form.  Maybe they should wear red capes and throw arrows at their opponents.

Looking forward one can only hope the team shakes itself out of this funk.  With that goal in mind and as the self-appointed lighthouse for the basketball team from Los Angeles I am assigning homework.

Sebastian, do your part to bring some unity and passion to the second squad.  Come up with a nick name for the bench players.  When you get in the game bring energy.  Convince everyone who starts the game sitting down that their role is important and to act like it on the bench as well as on the court. 

Marcus, who better than a former NBA Defensive Player of the year award winner to inspire this team defensively?  Throw out an occasional hint on how to better box out.  Follow it up with an at-a-boy when you see someone do what you advised.  Be a coach on and off the court.  Its time to start thinking about life after you hang up the jersey Marcus, start now.  Be the defensive player-coach.

Baron, as the point guard, team leader and face of the club it falls on you to get the guys on the same page.  Do it.  Team meeting, team dinner, team miniature golf; I don't know what it will take, but do it.  I like the idea of putt-putting though. 

How can you not get close as a team watching Chris Kaman hunch over a tiny yellow golf ball holding a golf club made for a nine year old as he lines up his putt hoping to avoid the windmill fan?

Blake, get well soon.  Please.  Hurry back!!

Mike, chill.  Just chill.  Do your job and don't worry about anything else.  I have everything covered and taken care off.

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