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Clippers' Smith and Telfair look forward to seeing old friends

Smith jokes he's going to go after former Timberwolves teammate Al Jefferson, and Telfair says he's happy the game comes so soon on the schedule, eliminating too much buildup.

November 02, 2009|Lisa Dillman

The list includes Blake Griffin, Brian Skinner and Marcus Camby.

All victims of Clippers teammate Craig "Rhino" Smith, and all injured during training camp.

Now, perhaps, is the time to add an opponent to the list. Smith, jokingly, had a former teammate in mind with tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

None other than Big Al.

As in Al Jefferson.

"I told him I'm going to take him down," Smith said, laughing, at practice Sunday. "He sent me a text like a while ago, saying, 'You all better double-team me if you guard me.'

"I told him, 'OK, you make sure that you've got some help because I'm going to blow right past you.' "

The Clippers, 0-4, and minus injured rookie Griffin, may not be themselves without the youngster, and the Timberwolves' Jefferson isn't quite himself, either.

The big man is still searching for his form and lost explosion following last season's knee surgery. He was averaging 10.5 points and six rebounds and was shooting just 30.4% heading into Sunday night's game at Phoenix.

Minnesota is also navigating the early weeks of the season without forward Kevin Love, who fractured a finger during the exhibition season and required surgery.

Smith, backup point guard Sebastian Telfair and Mark Madsen (since waived) were traded to the Clippers in July for Quentin Richardson, who was then sent to Miami.

"I'm looking forward to it a lot, actually," Smith said.

"I get to see a couple of old faces, go against my old team. Think it's going to be pretty exciting for Sebastian and me to go out there and battle them, because we've been battling them all the time in practice and now we're in a different uniform."

Telfair was pleased to see the Minnesota game and where it was on the schedule.

"It'll be a nice game," he said. "I'm glad we get to see them early in the season rather than let it build up, take too long. I'm friends with a lot of those guys. It'll be good to go out there and get a win against them."

There are bragging rights, but not even a dinner riding on the outcome.

"That's considered gambling," Telfair said.

And dinner, well, quite frankly, that could end up costing a lot. "Especially with those big guys," Telfair said.


Meanwhile, back in the land of 0-4 . . .

"It's coming down to our consistency of our play," Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Clearly when we're doing things we're supposed to be doing, everything is flowing well for us.

"Then all of a sudden, we stop running the floor, stop crossing, start getting lazy. Our entry passes are weak, the teams are getting turnovers that are getting them into the open court and getting easy scores, not against our defense.

"Playing against our set defense, we've been pretty good. It's what I call the focus, staying in tune for 48 minutes.

"The film doesn't lie. We need to be more conscious of it, or change guys, give the next guy a chance to see if he can do it."


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