CLIPPERS IN CHINA: TEAM REMAINS FOCUSED
BEIJING–As Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro paced the sideline during the Clippers’ 2-hour practice Wednesday at MasterCard Center he implored his team to work. “What you put into it, you’re going to get out of it,” he said twice in a row.
Considering the distractions and obligations of what Del Negro has repeatedly referred to as a weeklong business trip to China, the task of keeping 16 players focused may seem a bit daunting.
“There’s been a lot of stuff going on there’s no question about it, but I thought the last couple practices have been pretty good,” Del Negro said. “I thought we got a little sloppy as they got fatigued today, but I thought we got some good work out of them. It’s about building every day for us, enjoying the experience and also knowing when it’s time to work.”
For the second consecutive day, the Clippers worked on specific details within offensive play sets, adding more wrinkles to the playbook. All the while acclimating themselves to the 15-hour time difference between Beijing and Los Angeles.
“The first night was tough because we just got here and we were trying to catch up to the time difference,” Jamal Crawford said. “But then we figured out to stay up and adjust to China’s time, so it’s been a great stay so far.”
The intensity level, for the most part, remained in line with previous workouts at their Playa Vista Training Center. They pushed tempo in 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 full-court drills, continued their improved communication on defense, and broke into shooting groups by position.
They also scrimmaged for one 5-minute period before ending practice at 11 a.m. local time for Media Day. Again, point guard Chris Paul participated in full-contact activity after being medically cleared a day earlier. “Day two felt pretty good,” Paul said. “Obviously, I’m still a little apprehensive in some things, but it feels good just to get a chance to be out there and not have a red [jersey] on like a quarterback.”
Paul was relegated to non-contact drills through the first week of camp as he recovered from offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. He is not expected to play Thursday when the Clippers take on the Heat in their second game of the preseason.