Eric Patten (@ericpatten) | 4/27/12

PLAYA VISTA-It's been a while, but the Clippers held a nearly two and a half hour practice Friday at their Playa Vista Training Facility in preparation for Sunday's Game 1 of the playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies. Due to the hectic nature of the 66-game regular-season schedule, the Clippers rarely had court time outside of walkthroughs and shoot-arounds. With first-round games staggered over the course of two weeks, the playoffs will change that.

Forward Blake Griffin, who will play his first postseason game Sunday, was happy with the focus of the team Friday. "We really got after it today in practice; one of our only practices in the past three months," Griffin said. "I like the mentality of our team and the way we got after it today."

Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro seemed eager for round one to get started.

"We're ready to go," Del Negro said. "We played Memphis well during the regular season and now we've got to get ready. We had a good practice today and it's good to get everybody on the practice court. Although Chris [Paul] didn't practice."

Paul participated in a limited capacity as the Clippers remain cautious with his mild left groin strain. He sustained the injury during the course of Tuesday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks and did not play in the Clippers' regular-season finale against the Knicks.

Paul said he felt better Friday and expects to be in the starting lineup Sunday.


Much has been made about the Grizzlies seizing home court advantage from the Clippers with a win on the final day of the regular season. However, it seemed as though players had already moved on.

"The thing I've learned is the series hasn't started until someone loses at home, so we need to go in there and get Game 1," Paul said. "We can't worry about [not getting home court] anymore. Who cares? Are you going to give us three more games to try and give us home court? You're worrying about what's in the past and all we can do now is going into Memphis for the first two games."

To some extent, the Clippers, who finished the season losing three of their final four games, could use starting on the road as motivation.

"We shot ourselves in the foot. We know that," Kenyon Martin said. "The Phoenix game here we were up 17. The San Antonio game we were up, at New Jersey, losing at Cleveland, and those are all the things that have happened since I've been here, losing to Minnesota three times. You pick any one of those games and we get home court."


The NBA released its annual list of top merchandise sales on Thursday with Griffin and Paul among the top 15 in individual jersey sales and the Clippers No. 8 in team sales overall.

Griffin, who was a nightly staple on sports highlight shows and led the league with 192 dunks, was No. 9 with his superstar point guard coming in at No. 15.

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose topped the list for the first time with Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony rounding out the top five. Chicago was also No. 1 in team merchandise sales.

It's the first time the Clippers had two players on the list since April 2002 when Darius Miles (No. 7) and Lamar Odom (No. 8) were among the top 10.


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