CLIPPERS CONDUCT FIRST PRACTICE IN CHINA
BEIJING–The fallout of an all-day flight across the Pacific did not curtail the Clippers from getting in a two-hour workout Tuesday morning at MasterCard Center.
It was the tenth practice of the preseason for the team, and first with point guard Chris Paul participating in full-contact throughout. Paul was cleared by the Clippers’ medical staff prior to taking the floor Tuesday, but is not expected to play when the team plays the Miami Heat in two days.
With Paul in tow, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro covered a number of finite points from the Clippers’ 106-104 loss to Denver in their preseason opener, reviewing a handful of defensive principles and later some offensive play sets. Del Negro said it was important to get back on the court after nearly a day of inactivity while traveling.
“Just get them moving, just get them up and down,” Del Negro answered when asked what he was looking to get out of Tuesday morning’s practice. “We went through a couple tactical things early in practice, then went a little half-court 4-on-4, 5-on-5 stuff defensively, then some offensive plays, and then we played just to get them up and down.”
They played three 5-minute scrimmages to close the workout with a premium placed on getting into early offense and pushing the tempo. Jamal Crawford stood out, making a rainbow 3-pointer from the left corner and a seemingly effortless turnaround over Paul. The team finished off the session with their typical free throw routine.
“[Overall] I though the effort was there,” Del Negro said. “We were sloppy, which was to be expected after a long flight yesterday. Every day for us it’s about getting to know each other a little bit more.”
The budding chemistry amongst the team will likely only get strong in the coming days, according to Del Negro.
“We’re going to be spending a lot of time together,” Del Negro said. “Between bus rides and plane rides and games and just everything we’re doing, events and receptions and things. We have about seven new faces, so it’s a good kind of camaraderie thing. Bottom line is it’s a working trip for us and we’ve got to do a good job with the concentration in practice and obviously in the games.”
Take note: Grant Hill practiced in full Tuesday after being held out of Friday’s game to get extra rest heading into the season.