Tomorrow’s notebook today …
There’s a word to describe the Clippers’ feelings after look-alike defeats Saturday to the Golden State Warriors and Monday to the Cleveland Cavaliers, inferior teams that won with a good deal more grit and determination and efficiency.
“Disappointed,” point guard Chris Paul said after Tuesday’s practice.
Paul didn’t limit himself to a one-word answer, either.
“Disappointed, and it starts with me as a point guard,” he added. “I can’t let us come out and start out games like that. Giving up 30-point (first) quarters like that the past two games is always going to be tough to come back from.”
The Clippers’ defense wasn’t sound enough in either game. Their rebounding was poor and so was their ballhandling. Above all, their intensity wasn’t what it should have been at the start of each game and they paid the price.
They didn’t get away with it against two teams that missed the playoffs last season, and might not make it in 2012-13. So, they know they’re going to have to play a more complete game when the San Antonio Spurs visit Staples Center tonight.
After victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Lakers to start the season, the Clippers could have been 4-0 going into tonight’s playoff rematch against the Spurs. Instead, they’re only 2-2 and searching for answers.
The Clippers hoped to get off to a fast start, what with seven of their first nine games at home. So far, they are only 1-2 on their home court, missing a chance to bank a few more victories before their schedule gets a little more taxing later this month.
“We’ve just got to get better,” Paul said. “I think we’re one of those teams that it’s not going to matter whether we’re home or away. We just need to play right wherever we’re at. Road games are not going to affect us.”
Twenty-five turnovers Monday against the Cavaliers contributed mightily to the Clippers’ downfall. They had 16 turnovers Saturday against the Warriors, but missed five shots and two free throws and committed two giveaways to start the game.
“We haven’t done anything,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Everything right now is on paper and that doesn’t win you a lot of games. You have to go out there and perform and you have produce and execute and we haven’t done that the last two games.”
–Blake Griffin injury update
The Clippers aren’t overly concerned about power forward Blake Griffin’s ongoing struggles with a burst bursa sac in his right elbow, an injury that’s not expected to keep him from playing in tonight’s game against the Spurs.
Del Negro said he was a little worried about Griffin’s stiff neck after a collision during a drill during Tuesday’s practice, however. Del Negro said Griffin sat out roughly half of the team’s workout.
“Blake’s a tough kid,” Del Negro said. “He’ll fight through it.”
–Clippers scheduling change
The starting time of the Clippers’ game Nov. 17 against the Chicago Bulls was changed to 6 p.m., the NBA announced. It was originally scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start as part of a day-night doubleheader with the NHL’s Kings. The NHL has locked out its players and the game has been cancelled.