‘Invaluable lessons’ for Clippers

With a scrimmage before a few thousand fans at Galen Center Wednesday night, Clippers coach Doc Rivers got the chance to observe his team in a couple of situations they’re not accustomed to, especially at this time of year.
First, he wanted to see his squad fight through the distractions of a friendly crowd, then he watched his team go through a late-game situation they probably didn’t think they’d face this early in October.
“It’s good that the fans can see somewhat what we work on, but that’s a tough atmosphere for the players as far as concentration,” Rivers said. “I actually like that, especially when we’re doing the drills before the scrimmage stuff, guys keeping their focus and getting through it.
“You actually count the actual days (of practice) and there’s not a lot of days you can give away before the first game. I still think we got something out of that, and that’s good.”
The Clippers ran through some defensive transition drills with the narration of assistant coach Kevin Eastman, then got to the scrimmage portion.
In the starting lineup for the first unit, Rivers trotted out Blake Griffin, Jared Dudley, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and Willie Green.
At the end of the game, the starters had one possession to go the length of the court with a two-point deficit. Paul took possession in the backcourt and was immediately trapped by Darren Collison and Lou Amundson. Paul dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds with six seconds left.
“We hung our heads,” Rivers said. “Chris turned the ball over and you could see our guys. That’s when I jumped in and said ‘Guys, there’s 5 seconds left. There’s a ton of time. We’re down two points. That doesn’t mean you lose the game. There’s a ton of time.’ The next thing you they turn the ball over and we get the ball back and we had a dunk (attempt) and we got fouled.”
After Maalik Wayns stepped over the sideline trying to inbound the ball for a turnover, the Clippers went to Griffin, who made a baseline move to try to dunk. He was fouled and missed the first free throw.
“Even after he missed the first free throw, we called another timeout and Blake was upset he missed the free throw,” Rivers said. “We still had time to win the game. Three seconds left and we get the ball back again. I think those lessons are invaluable to your team. The game is never over and that’s what our team has to get. That will be key for us. If we can get through that, we’re going to be really good. If we can’t, we will not.”

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