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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers hold long practice sessions to prepare for regular season

Coach Vinny Del Negro says the team is trying to get in a lot of work and be smart about it. The Clippers open the season Wednesday against Portland at Staples Center.

October 22, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

Welcome to mini-camp.

Or the training camp within a training camp.

"A mini-mini camp or a mini-mini-mini camp — that's a tongue twister," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said the other day. "We're just trying to get as much work in and be smart about it."

The Clippers have an unusually long period of time to get ready for their season opener, which is Wednesday against Portland at Staples Center. To that end, they've had lengthy sessions Thursday and Friday.

Not quite back to the classroom, but you get the general idea. For example, Del Negro worked with Blake Griffin, one on one, on his free-throw shooting after the scrimmaging ended.

And long after the final player departed and the last interview completed, rookie forward Al-Farouq Aminu worked long and hard on his jump shot, cutting a solitary figure in the gym.

One of the key components to the Clippers season will be the chemistry up front between center Chris Kaman and the power forward Griffin. Kaman and Marcus Camby, now in Portland, seemed to achieve an almost effortless blend.

(At least when they were both healthy)

"We're working on it," Kaman said. "With him being out the last couple of games with the ankle injury, it's not as easy to build that chemistry.

"But it's part of the deal."

Said Griffin: "It's going really well. I'm not worried about playing with Chris. He's easy to play with for me. I think I've got him figured out for the most part. We're figuring out each other.

"The more we play the better we'll be."

Injury update

Eric Gordon, who had been out with a sprained right ankle, was able to participate in almost all but the last few minutes of practice Friday.

Still sidelined is forward Craig Smith, suffering from a sore lower back on the right side. He thought he would be able to resume practicing Monday.

"Felt like I was still in a train wreck," Smith said. "It's getting better. I'm on some new medication, so I didn't have to get an epidural."

Quote of the day

Actually it came from Thursday but, really, what does it matter when it comes to Kaman.

Kaman was talking about a joke by someone else gone hopelessly awry at the team's celebrity golf tournament and then started talking about his own game.

Critically would be putting it mildly.

"I'm a horrible golfer," Kaman said. "I gave my golf clubs to Blake Griffin because I'm so bad. I'm a good teammate."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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