LA Clippers dealing with some growing pains

first_imgPaul was asked what he saw from his team in that game. His response said it all.“Man, a team that has a lot of work to do,” he said. “I even saw that Friday after our first home game here. We’ve gotta continue to get better both offensively and defensively.”Second unit strugglesThe second unit shot just 10 of 35 Sunday. Josh Smith was 2 of 8, Jamal Crawford 2 of 7 and Lance Stephenson 0 of 4. Stephenson, who was 2 of 10 in Friday’s 103-96 victory over Denver, seems to be forcing things just a bit.Rivers agreed that Stephenson could be trying a bit too hard to impress after the mediocre season he had in 2014-15 with Charlotte.“He’s going fast, they all are,” Rivers said of the second unit. “They’re running into each other half the time. … There has been no space with them. So again, I think you’ll see that group better and better as it goes on.”The Clippers leave Wednesday morning for China, where they will play Charlotte on Oct. 10 and Oct. 14. PLAYA VISTA >> The core of the Clippers — other than the departed Matt Barnes — is back this season. But with the influx of new and prominent players, most of whom will make up the second unit, it stands to reason there will be some growing pains.That was evident by the Clippers’ 93-73 loss Sunday against Toronto in Canada. Coach Doc Rivers has been in similar spots before during his coaching days at Boston, which spanned nine seasons.“Yeah, probably every year, unfortunately,” he said Tuesday. “Once we became good, we lost guys every year. … And then you have to keep bringing in guys. That’s why the core is so important. It’s not the new guys, it’s the core.”That would be Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick for these Clippers. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “We’ve got those four guys, they know how to play,” Rivers said. “But the way they play can make the new guys play that way better. And so I was hard on them (the first unit) at the Toronto game because I didn’t think they played with the right pace or spirit and so, of course, the second unit is going to follow. They’re going to do what you’re doing.”The Clippers, 1-1 in the exhibition season, shot just 38 percent from the field Sunday. The lack of offense is what most bugged Griffin, who scored 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting.“I thought it was a good learning lesson for us because we struggled to score the ball at times and that normally isn’t the case for us,” said Griffin, whose team averaged 106.7 points in 2014-15, second best in the league. “So when that happens, we have to lock down defensively.“Defense has been our biggest emphasis in practice, so it was a little disappointing to see. But these games are for building and these games for lessons, and I think we learned a valuable lesson. I thought we had an unbelievable practice today.”Toronto shot 42.5 percent Sunday.last_img read more