PAUL: ‘WE’VE GOT TO PLAY OUR GAME’ AGAINST 3-POINT SHOOTING WARRIORS
PLAYA VISTA – It’s safe to say the Clippers were tuned into the Warriors game in Oakland Wednesday night.
With a day between their opening night loss and Thursday’s home opener against Golden State at Staples Center, the Clippers could only watch. And wait.
“Guys after our last game can’t wait to get out there and compete again,” Chris Paul said at Thursday’s shoot-around, “after that loss the other night.”
Early in the season or not, you could tell the previous night’s showing bothered Paul and his teammates. After giving up 116 points and 14 3-pointers to the Lakers, the Warriors (1-0) come in with the ability to do the same thing from beyond the arc. They made 15 of their 27 3-pointers in Oakland. They were the top 3-point shooting team in the league a year ago (40.3 percent).
“Those guys are obviously a threat when they’re behind that line and obviously they look for it,” Jamal Crawford said. “They get a kick out of it. It drives their fans, it drives their team, looking for those 3-point shots.”
How does a team trying to establish a defensive identity with a new system halt, or at least slow down, Golden State’s proficiency from deep?
“I think it’s a team effort,” said Crawford, who was one of those watching Golden State’s 125-94 win. “Obviously, those two can put up big numbers. And last night Klay Thompson had a night where he couldn’t miss no matter what he did. Sometimes guys get hot, it’s difficult, so it’s more of a team effort than anything.”
Thompson scored a career-high 38 in the opener, but Paul said it’s not about zeroing in on one person or even adapting to the transition-oriented Warriors offense.
“We’ve got to play our game,” Paul said. “Obviously, we’ve got to get back and defend. Our last game wasn’t very good defensively. They’re a big 3-point shooting team, but we’ve got to be us and score and get back.”
BENCH STILL COMING TOGETHER
Crawford, Matt Barnes and Darren Collison were the only three reserves to play double-digit minutes on Tuesday. That may remain the same against Golden State as Head Coach Doc Rivers continues to tweak his rotation.
Wednesday was the first time the Clippers reserves have practiced together all month. Reggie Bullock sat out in San Diego and Barnes (calf) and Collison (knee) missed time thereafter. They were all available to play against the Lakers, but the full roster had yet to practice.
“That was kind of weird in itself because certain guys that were in in the scrimmages were out,” Crawford said. “It’s a little different, but that’s what we have to do. We have to work everybody in.”