On the day after his team lost its third straight game and fell to 11-14 since Chauncey Billups was lost for the season with an Achilles injury, embattled Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro showed up at the team's training facility, met with general manager Neil Olshey and spent the rest of the day preparing for the team's game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
Despite speculation that he could be fired at any moment, and in light of ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard's report that tension between Del Negro and his players is high, Del Negro told ESPNLosAngeles.com he treated Friday like any other work day.
"I can't control all that stuff so I just go about my business and if we win, it'll be good; if we don't, it won't. That's just the way this business works," Del Negro said.
"Today (Friday), I was just grinding things out. We've had such a hard schedule with the three in a row and then the game (Saturday), I had to get as much stuff done as possible in the office today to get ready for the game."
Del Negro has come under fire this week as the team has fallen to sixth in the Western Conference after a promising start to the season. He is in the final guaranteed season of his contract. The Clippers hold an option on him for next season.
While the team's freefall seems to coincide with the loss of Billups on Feb. 7, Broussard, citing sources close to the situation, reported that players have also questioned Del Negro's inconsistent rotations and the sophistication of his offensive and defensive schemes.
The Clippers' offense has sputtered in recent weeks for a variety of reasons. The team has failed to score 100 points in nine straight games.
Del Negro said losing Billups' leadership, 3-point shooting (38.4 percent), ability to create shots for wing players like Caron Butler and space the floor for interior players Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has been devastating.
The Clippers are shooting 34.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc, just 13th in the league. They are 29th in the league in free-throw shooting (68.7 percent), a factor which has played a key role in several losses. The Clippers missed 11 free throws in their 97-90 loss to New Orleans.
"Obviously, we have our own issues, most teams do right now," Del Negro said. "We just have to work through them and see how it comes out."