Del Negro's Clippers are in fourth-place in the Western Conference right now, so throwing the team under the proverbial bus doesn't seem like the smartest move at this point
After a lackluster effort in a 98-81 against a Houston Rockets team without an injured James Harden on Saturday night at the Toyota Center, the Los Angeles Clippers, and their coach (Vinny Del Negro) were justly frustrated. As one of the Western Conference's top teams, the Clippers are expected–and expect themselves–to play with maximum effort and intensity every night they take the floor, which usually culminates in a win for them, especially when they play a lower-level team like the Rockets that also happens to be missing its best player.
However, after just one isolated setback, it's unusual for drastic measures and reactions to be taken by those involved with a team like the Clippers. Apparently, Del Negro didn't get that message, as he verbally berated his team for nearly three-and-a-half minutes after the loss, ripping the playoff-bound Clippers for lacking basically everything when they fell to the Rockets.
From the Orange County Register's Dan Woike: "They [the Rockets] played harder than we did," Del Negro said. "We were terrible. Our effort was terrible. Our attitude was terrible. Our urgency was terrible. I'm very disappointed. I didn't see the fight in us tonight. We need guys to step up…"
The extended haranguing dealt by a visibly frustrated Del Negro and directed right at his team would go on further than that quote, but you get the point. Ever since he's taken the reins of the Clippers, and even in his stint at the helm of the Bulls, Del Negro's ability to be an effective leader of a contender-level team has been questioned, and this incident begs a similar inquiry.
It's not often that coaches of playoff teams flip out on, and throw under the bus, their players after a single night in which they simply didn't play their best basketball. It might be hard to remember sometimes that NBA players are humans too, and like humans, they have off-nights. So when a coach rips his team for having a merely mortal non-spectacular, it shows a lack of understanding that all championship-winning coaches of elite teams tend to comprehend and grasp. You don't see Erik Spoelstra flipping out on the Heat when they lose to the Wizards or Pistons.