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CLIPPERS FYI

A different Baron Davis emerging this season

Clippers assistant coach John Lucas says the point guard is improving and has a better grasp of what Coach Mike Dunleavy wants.

October 19, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Clippers assistant coach John Lucas was breaking down the game of pupil and point guard Baron Davis, and almost, as if on cue, the bearded one appeared in the locker room before Sunday's exhibition game against the Lakers.

"I don't know the BD she was talking about," Lucas said.

Davis, who had 16 points and eight assists in the 114-108 loss to the Lakers, said that he didn't know that Baron Davis, either.

It was suggested that it was the Baron Davis without the heavy beard, the beard he joked that makes him look like a werewolf.

Oh, that Davis. The leading symbol of the Clippers' woes last season. Gone, and best forgotten, all agree.

"I've never seen that BD," Lucas said. "I just know who and what he can be. We've got to get him up there for us to be successful."

Project Lucas/Davis, of course, is in the early honeymoon-like stages. It will be interesting to check back in, say, mid-January on the mentor and student.

"He's still a work in progress, but he's getting there," Lucas said. "I think he's had a good preseason. He's had a couple of double-figure assist nights and very close to borderline triple-doubles if he got a couple more rebounds.

"Defensively he's gotten better. I think he just continues to improve. He's going to be better the second year. He's got more of a better grasp of what Mike [Dunleavy] wants and that's been a big key."

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Blake Griffin watch

Dunleavy is often asked what has surprised him the most about rookie Blake Griffin, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds Sunday.

What stands out actually got started back in July in Las Vegas.

"One thing maybe surprising in Summer League is that he was as good defensively on the rotation stuff as he's been," Dunleavy said.

"He gets coverages. He's like a veteran guy. He's better than veteran guys. He's been one of our best as far as not making mistakes in coverages," he added.

Of course, leave it to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson to put his own stamp on all this.

Never one to pump up rookies, Jackson was asked before the game if he had seen Griffin play. "No," Jackson said.

So, what did he know about Griffin?

"That he has a brother," Jackson said. "That's about it."

Jackson was slightly more expansive on the overall look of the Clippers.

"They're talented," he said. "I don't know how well they fit together. That's always something coaches are wondering, 'How am I going to fit my guys together?' "

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Injury updates

Small forward Al Thornton joined Marcus Camby (sprained ankle) and Sebastian Telfair (hamstring) on the injured list. Thornton suffered what was called a "football-type" injury in the first half of the Jazz game on Saturday, a stinger in his right arm.

"My arm just went dead," Thornton said. "I couldn't lift it."

The feeling came back on Sunday morning. Thornton is considered day to day.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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