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Clippers have confidence in their bench

Coach Vinny Del Negro expects the team's reserve players, who include former starter Mo Williams, to perform well. Del Negro says he has the ability to go deep into his rotation.

December 25, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers point guard Mo Williams tries to drive past starter Chris Paul during a scrimmage last week.
Clippers point guard Mo Williams tries to drive past starter Chris Paul… (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)

Reporting from Oakland -- The Clippers think they have a strong bench, especially with Mo Williams now being a reserve after having been a starter last season.

With the shortened, 66-game regular-season schedule because of the lockout, it will be even more important for the Clippers' substitutes to be effective.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said he has the ability to go deep into his rotation, maybe even as far as 10 players.

"I feel very confident in our bench," Del Negro said. "They are going to have to come out and perform well for us, not only tonight but through this difficult schedule coming up."

Williams, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Brian Cook and Reggie Evans make up the Clippers' bench. Evans, who signed last week, will be out another two weeks with a sprained right foot.

Gomes said the reserves are not a tall group, so they realize that they'll have to play to their strengths.

"I think we can do really good," Gomes said. "But it's about jelling. It's about coming in and knowing time, situation, how the game is flowing.

"We have a great point guard in Mo, who pushes the tempo. I think we can be a running team in that second unit, probably not 'Lob City,' as DeAndre [Jordan] and Blake [Griffin] will be. But we can run, space the floor and guys can make open shots."

Rookie may get time

With Evans out, rookie Trey Thompkins will be the Clippers' fourth big man behind Cook.

Thompkins, taken in the second round out of Georgia, has shown the ability to make outside shots, meaning he can stretch the floor for a 6-foot-10 frontcourt player.

"We might have to use Trey," Del Negro said. "He's done a nice job for us. Trey has a really good feel for the game. He has one of those intangibles that helps a lot. He can shoot the basketball, so you have to guard him…I think Trey is up to the task."

Del Negro said he's not afraid to play Thompkins, especially after the way he played in two exhibition games and in practice.

"It's a blessing to be able to come into a situation and get quality minutes early," Thompkins said. "It's not a good thing that Reggie is down right now and we'll definitely be happy when we get Reggie back, but I'll be ready whenever coach calls my number."


The Clippers have a 13-man roster, two short of the NBA's maximum. Evans and Eric Bledsoe, who will be out until January recovering from right knee surgery, didn't make the trip to Oakland to face Golden State. … The Clippers wore green socks and headbands and had snowflakes on their jerseys as a part of the NBA's use of special uniforms on Christmas.

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