PRACTICE NOTEBOOK: CLIPPERS AIM TO FIX MISTAKES IN GAME 2



Eric Patten @ericpatten | 5/16/12

SAN ANTONIO-Despite a 16-point loss to the Spurs in Game 1, the Clippers are far from a state of panic.

They spent most of Wednesday's two-hour practice going over film and took part in some light shooting at AT&T Center. Head coach Vinny Del Negro said there are a number of areas the team can improve in Game 2, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

"I thought we got strung out on our pick and roll coverages a little bit and they made some tough shots," he said. "But we've got to do a better job closing out and really we didn't rebound the ball well enough. We turned it over too much. We missed some easy shots, you know. I thought we lost a little bit of energy in the second half when they made their run."

The main points of emphasis heading into Thursday, according to Del Negro, will include loading up in transition, getting to 3-point shooters, and rebounding.

The Clippers were out-rebounded 47-34 by the Spurs, including 22 combined by Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan. On Tuesday, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said Diaw's performance, in particular, was "unexpected."

"Boris and Tim were fantastic [Tuesday]," Ginobili said. "We were all in great positions to get those boards. We make them miss a shot, but if they grab it again they have another shot, and that makes everything harder. With us grabbing those boards it allows us to push a little bit on the transition and make a couple easy buckets."

Of course, the transition game was one of the deficiencies from Game 1 that Del Negro noted and it's something center DeAndre Jordan mentioned as well.

"We just have to get back on defense," Jordan said. "We had a couple of times in the third quarter where it took us too long to get back on defense and it led to some easy threes."

The Spurs went on an 8-0 spurt after halftime with two 3-pointers by Kawhi Leonard sandwiching a Danny Green layup. Leonard made three of San Antonio's franchise playoff record-tying 13 3-pointers on the night.

While the shooting stood out, it was the number of open looks that was a bit disconcerting for L.A.

"They shot well, but I also feel like we gave up too many uncontested shots," Blake Griffin said sitting courtside after practice.

"I think we were around 60 percent contested shots, so we need to get that up to 75 [percent] or above that and we'll be a little bit better off."

For Del Negro, the biggest thing moving forward for the Clippers is avoiding any lulls in energy and remaining aggressive.

"We've got to get our legs under us a little bit more in terms of our energy," he said. "I want us to be aggressive. I want us to attack. I don't want us to sit back."

AILMENTS PILING UP

Add Nick Young to the list of Clippers with some degree of ailment.

They already have Blake Griffin (sprained left knee), Chris Paul (strained right hip flexor), Caron Butler (fractured left hand), and Mo Williams (jammed fingers) banged up, and on Wednesday Young was complaining of a sore tooth.

The hot-shooting swingman is not expected to miss any time. In eight playoff games, Young is 13-for-22 from 3-point range (59.1%), including a 3-for-3 effort on Tuesday.

As for Griffin and Paul, they both received treatment at the arena.

"To be honest, it's just one of those things," Griffin said of the knee injury he suffered a week ago against Memphis. "It felt better in the beginning [of the game]. I've just got to do a little bit better job managing it so I have a little bit more left in the fourth, in the third, in the second half, really. I'm just going to keep working."

Griffin also rolled his left ankle in the first quarter of Game 1 versus the Spurs, but indicated he doesn't expect it to be much on an issue. "The ankle is a little bit easier [to deal with]," he said "It's really my knee. I've rolled my ankle before, that's just one of those things it's a matter of playing through it. It just kind of adds to the list, I guess."

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