Vinny Del Negro and his Clippers lost to the Cavaliers last night. Losing 99-92, the Clippers had a definite shot at stealing this game. Why couldn't they? Vinny Del Negro didn't put his players in optimal position to score.
Vinny Del Negro isn't the only reason the Clippers lost. The Cavalier offense adjusted well and played up on the Clippers. Mo Williams missed a three he makes about eight times out of ten. The Cavs crashed the boards. Despite the other factors, the bottom line is Vinny Del Negro isn't savvy enough to draw up plays that give guys open shots in crunch time.
Vinny Del Negro doesn't have the play calling brilliance of Doc Rivers. Rivers gets guys like Ray Allen great looks and Doc inspired Tom Thibodeau to do the same in Chicago. Vinny Del Negro must realize he needs to learn how to get guys open late in games. Guys can drive and kick for a shot, but if great stagger screens are set, a guy can get a phenomenal look.
It's done so much, it's a wonder how Vinny Del Negro doesn't understand how to recreate what's been shown to work! Take a shooter, run him off of stagger screens, make sure big bodies are setting the picks to ward off the D and hope the guy drains it.
The problem is not the Clippers team, the problem is how they utilize their talent down the stretch. The plays look messed up. They're unorganized, and the players don't seem confident in the looks they're getting. The reason for their lack of confidence is because these shots aren't open. They're highly contested. They need open, sound opportunities to score.
While getting guys open looks is nothing easy in the NBA, it's not impossible. If Vinny Del Negro can realize this and add to the Clippers playbook, it'd make a world of difference.
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