T.J. SIMERS

At least L.A. has one stable, winning franchise in Clippers

Since Vinny Del Negro has been coaching in L.A., the Lakers are on their third coach.

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What an exciting night, and it's all about basketball.

It's been nothing but chaos, dysfunctional management and poor public relations around here the last few days, so what a relief to spend some time with the Clippers.

It never fails to amaze how some franchises just can't get it right.

Here are the Lakers, going on their third coach in the time Vinny Del Negro has been here with the Clippers.

"I know that," says Clippers owner Donald Sterling, stability, I guess, just something you take for granted.

"We have a good coach, good staff and I love the team," says Sterling. "I feel wonderful about it."

If only the Lakers could feel the same, Los Angeles so much better off when it has two quality franchises.

I wonder if we will have a better chance of seeing Jeanie Buss at a Clippers game before another Lakers game.

With that in mind, I asked Del Negro if he was as surprised as we were the Lakers didn't hire Phil Jackson.

"I didn't really have any skin in the game and wasn't focused on it," says Del Negro.

"Come on, you're going to be competing with the Lakers — wouldn't you want the worse guy?"

"Well, Phil has a pretty good track record," says Del Negro.

"So you're OK then that the Lakers got the worst guy?"

"Mike D'Antoni is Italian," says Del Negro, which doesn't figure to help when the games begin.

"From a restaurant standpoint, that's important," says Del Negro.

And so I guess we know how the Clippers think, or as someone in the Clippers' organization noted later, "Phil's got more rings than he has toes."

Before moving into Wednesday night's dynamic clash of talent, it dawned on me no one has ever asked Del Negro what he calls his offense. And we've heard so much about the triangle, the Princeton and now seven seconds or less.

"Do you have a name for your offense?"

"Yeah," Del Negro says. "Chris Paul."

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