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Vinny Del Negro hopes Clippers jell fairly quickly

Coach says that the team needs to come together by the 20th game because of the shortened 66-game schedule.

January 04, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro talks with center DeAndre Jordan during a game against the Trail Blazers on Jan. 1.
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro talks with center DeAndre Jordan during… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)

All the Clippers are fond of saying this is going to be a process before they hopefully become whole.

Yet, the clock is ticking, they all agree, for them to jell soon because of the 66-game schedule.

Coach Vinny Del Negro hopes his team comes together by the 20-game mark.

During the normal 82-game schedule, many NBA coaches said they usually have learned what kind of team they have between 20 to 25 games.

Del Negro knows he doesn't have that luxury this season.

"I think by 20 games you should have a pretty good feel, in terms of health, rotations and everything involved," Del Negro said. "But health changes complexion of things tremendously."

Del Negro mentioned how San Antonio's Manu Ginobili is out two months because of a broken left hand and how Memphis' Zach Randolph is out six to eight weeks because of a torn knee ligament, saying "that changes the complexion of a team dramatically."

The Clippers don't have backup power forward-center Reggie Evans because he has a sprained right foot.

"We can't control all those things," Del Negro said. "All we can do is, like I always talk about, prepare the right way, jell as quickly as possible, get everybody on the same page. We have to get Reggie out there and practicing."

Clippers take advantage of practices

The Clippers play three games this week and three next week, giving them plenty of time to practice.

It's something they need because of all the new pieces they have on their team.

Del Negro had his team practice Monday and Tuesday, and the plan is for them to practice Thursday and Friday before they play Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center.

Del Negro was asked whether the practice sessions allow him to maximize what he wants to get accomplished.

"I hope. You just don't know," Del Negro said. "You're trying to get a lot of things in. You're trying to be smart with the schedule, in terms of rest. But there is also a lot of things we have to work on.

"So we've had I wouldn't say long practices, but crisp practices. I think there's been some good focus."

Four Clippers on All-Star ballot

When the NBA announced the players on the All-Star ballot, the Clippers had four players on the list

Chris Paul, a four-time All-Star in New Orleans, is on the ballot.

Blake Griffin, who was voted onto the All-Star team as a rookie last season by the coaches, also is on the ballot.

Chauncey Billups, a five-time All-Star, and center DeAndre Jordan join them.

The All-Star game is Feb. 26 at Orlando, Fla.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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