Clippers’ start on right path

first_img“I can’t think that way,” Paul said. “I wasn’t thinking about that until you just said that. For me, that’s something I’ve done my whole career, just getting my hands in there trying to steal the ball and all that. The second I have to think about whether or not I should try to steal the ball, then I’m in trouble.”But right now, the Clippers are thinking the right way and playing the right way.And, there’s not been much trouble.“I think we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re taking every game seriously,” Jamal Crawford said. “We’re trying to improve on different things. Obviously, we’ve graduated to a team that’ll be judged on our postseason success, but this builds good habits, it builds trust, it builds chemistry.”NotesThe Clippers starting lineup leads the NBA in defensive efficiency among groups that have played 70 or more minutes. The Clippers all-bench lineup (Crawford, Raymond Felton, Wesley Johnson, Marreese Speights and Austin Rivers) is second. … Fans at Wednesday’s game received a Crawford bobblehead. “To be very honest, once I heard I was getting it, it didn’t matter what it looked like to me,” Crawford said. “Just to have a bobblehead, I’ve always wanted one since I was a rookie.” Crawford said he had at least 50 put aside to give to family and friends. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> No one says they want to get off to a slow start. No one says they don’t care about defense and want to be defined by their offense. And no one says they want to play at a slow pace.Everyone says the opposite; the Clippers too.What makes them, at least through the season’s first games, so different from years past is that they’re just not saying it, they’re doing it.The Clippers’ 6-1 record heading into Wednesday’s game with Portland is the best start in team history, and that’s not an accident.center_img After lethargic starts in the past, the Clippers have made a significant mindset change this season, taking regular season games more seriously, playing with a greater sense of urgency and much sharper focus.“With anything, whether it’s business, relationships, work, whatever, it’s communication,” Chris Paul said. “I think that’s something that we’re doing an amazing job of right now, starting out with me, Blake (Griffin), (DeAndre Jordan) and Doc (Rivers). That’s communicating, talking through things, that even when it gets tough, we continue to communicate.”Things haven’t really been tough for the Clippers this year, as the team largely has cruised thanks to a massive influx of defensive intensity and execution.“The biggest thing I’ve seen is the weakside defense,” Doc Rivers said. “Just how active their hands are, how alert they are, they’re switching when they should switch, their trapping. If I had to say (it’s) one thing for us, it’s the weakside defense, for sure.”The Clippers are forcing turnovers on and off the ball. Paul, always one of the league’s best, leads the NBA in steals with more than three per game, showing that the bone in his right hand that was broken last year in the playoffs is not an issue.last_img read more

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