Clippers point guard Baron Davis tries to drive around Magic center Dwight… (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)
It seems as if there are as many theories as there have been Clippers games this season that have been decided in the fourth quarter.
For seven consecutive games, the winner of the last quarter has won the game. The Clippers (9-12) have won four of those seven contests, leaving Coach Mike Dunleavy and his players with different takes on what has led to that dichotomy.
"It's been about making shots," Dunleavy said.
"We have to have that energy and that focus in the fourth quarter," starting point guard Baron Davis said.
"The minutes got to get broken up a little better so . . . we can finish a little stronger," backup point guard Sebastian Telfair said.
Regardless of the reasons, fourth-quarter runs happened in all of those games. And Clippers center Chris Kaman rightfully pointed out, "We could be a .500 team right now."
Dunleavy also cited the bench's production as another weakness, which mostly features Telfair and forward Craig Smith.
After being acquired this off-season from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Telfair and Smith both have averaged about 15 minutes a game -- a mark Dunleavy says won't increase until their play improves. "They have a good sense of what we're trying to do as far as schemes," Dunleavy said. "Knowing the plays, finding their niche and us finding stuff for them is still ongoing."
Telfair and Smith both said they're getting a fair shake, but acknowledged they're still becoming acclimated with a new team.
"I have to earn some more minutes out of myself to be productive," said Telfair, who is averaging 5.5 points a game. "You know how the NBA is. You have to put the ball in the basket first."
A team spokesman said a date hasn't been set for Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin to have a CT scan. It's the next required step in his recovery from a stress fracture in his left knee that has kept him sidelined for all 21 games in the regular season.
Griffin has been at most practices, including Friday's, but has been limited to elliptical machine and swimming workouts, plus stretching and shooting without jumping.
Griffin initially was expected to miss at least the first six weeks of the season; he hasn't received an MRI exam since his original diagnosis.
Dunleavy said Griffin hasn't experienced any setbacks during his recovery process. "He totally understands what he's supposed to do and he's been doing it."