Tough lesson: Dunleavy tossed

first_imgDunleavy did not single out anyone, nor did any of the players. But in a game in which Detroit’s Rasheed Wallace sat out because he was suspended for excessive technical fouls, the Clippers’ big men didn’t take advantage. Tim Thomas’ line: 16 points, one rebound. Chris Kaman’s line: six points, seven rebounds, five turnovers. Neither Thomas nor Kaman had an offensive rebound. In fact, other than Elton Brand and Corey Maggette, no Clipper grabbed an offensive rebound. Detroit’s big men were all over Brand, holding him to 11points, 12 rebounds and sixassists. “We’re struggling,” Brand said. “I don’t mind passing out of the post and being unselfish. But we have to find a way to win, whatever that is.” The Clippers have found themselves in a few free falls this season, and here they are, stuck in another one. They lost a third consecutive game, falling 98-80 to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at Staples Center, with coach Mike Dunleavy collecting his first ejection of the season. After spending most of the second half in his office, Dunleavy lashed out at his players. “I’m really disappointed in our toughness now, mental and physical,” Dunleavy said. “We have a situation where we were careless with our passes, our turnovers, our rotations and our rebounding. Guys have got to go battle. You can have all the schemes you want, all the great ideas you want on coverages. But it comes down to physical toughness.” center_img While this three-game losing streak is not yet as bad the six- and five-game streaks earlier this season, this one comes with only 20 games left to play in the regular season and with the team heading out on a six-game road trip. Thanks to a dismal start to the second half, in which they had six turnovers and missed their first eight shots, the Clippers never stood a chance. They also lost Dunleavy during that stretch. With 9:08 left, official Dan Crawford gave the coach consecutive technical fouls – and an automatic ejection – when Dunleavy argued a non-call on a drive to the basket by Maggette. “I wasn’t happy with some calls in the first half,” Dunleavy said. “I went in at halftime, checked them (on videotape) and still wasn’t happy with them. It was frustrating on my part. I was trying to make a point to our guys to be more aggressive, more emotional and pick up their intensity.” Assistant coach Jim Eyen took over the coaching duties, and the Clippers’ drought continued. They didn’t score in the third quarter until the 5:46 mark, and that was on a free throw by Cuttino Mobley. They didn’t score a field goal until the clock read 4:35, on a jump shot by Mobley that pulled the Clippers to within 61-46. Detroit’s lead then grew to a much as 20 before the Clippers made a run, but they couldn’t get the Pistons’ lead to single digits. Dunleavy seemed more angry than normal about the team’s lack of toughness, but it has been a persisent problem all season. “How long have I been saying that, about being mentally and physically tough?” guard Sam Cassell said. “Being tough is not taking your fists and banging someone in the face. That’s not tough. That’s just being an idiot right there. Being tough has got to come from everybody.” [email protected] (562) 499-1338 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more