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Clippers trying to get it together

Winners of 10 out of 12, they are tuning up for the playoffs and have more depth with the return of Mo Williams.

April 13, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Power forward Blake Griffin, trying to block a shot by Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams on Thursday, and his Clippers teammates are trying to get primed for their playoff run.
Power forward Blake Griffin, trying to block a shot by Timberwolves forward… (Marlin Levison / McClatchy-Tribune )

The Clippers have seven regular-season games left in a condensed season that has taken its share of twists and turns.

But now that the Clippers are two weeks away from the start of the playoffs, and with the team currently in the fourth spot in the Western Conference, they are trying to become even more of a cohesive group.

"Yeah, absolutely, we're starting to get locked in because it's about that time," Mo Williams said. "In any relationship, the more you are together, the better relationship that you will have. As a team, we're becoming more [of] a unit."

Williams sat out for three weeks because of a strained left big toe, but returned for his first game since the injury Thursday night against Minnesota. He is looking forward to helping the Clippers when they play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at Staples Center.

"When I was out, I was able to be more vocal because I was seeing everything," Williams said. "When you're in the game, you're locked in. But when you sit out, you talk to everybody and you see everything.

"I'm able to hear what the coaches are saying and then give my input. Now when I'm in the game, I know what they are thinking and I kind of bring it to the team. The great thing about our coaching staff is that they are real receptive."

The Clippers, who didn't practice Friday, have won 10 of their last 12 games.

"I think it's just going through the adversity of a season," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's spending time together and film sessions and walk-throughs and halftimes. And it's making adjustments and guys getting a feel for rotations. It's trying to make it all work together.

"It doesn't always work smooth, but I think guys are finding ways to not have as many lulls as we've had before."

Bench weapons

With Williams back, Del Negro likes all the options he has off the bench.

He can bring in Nick Young for scoring, Eric Bledsoe for energy and hustle and Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans for defense and rebounding.

"We've got a lot of options, and guys have got to be ready," Del Negro said. "Some nights it's going to be their night. It's about [the] team, and guys have got to accept their role and do their job right now. It's about winning."

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