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Clippers' Vinny Del Negro says push of Darius Morris not malicious

CLIPPERS FYI

The coach says there was no intent for anyone to be hurt when power forward Blake Griffin shoved the Lakers guard while Morris was in the air during a game Saturday night.

January 16, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Lakers point guard Darius Morris passes after encountering Clippers power forward Blake Griffin in his path during their game Saturday night at Staples Center.
Lakers point guard Darius Morris passes after encountering Clippers power… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said he is aware that Lakers Coach Mike Brown wants the NBA to review power forward Blake Griffin's two-handed shove of Lakers guard Darius Morris late in the first quarter of Saturday night's game.

Del Negro said Griffin's act was not "malicious."

Morris was going up for a dunk during a dead ball after being fouled by point guard Chris Paul when Griffin extended both hands and pushed the Lakers rookie while he was in the air.

Brown had to be restrained by Lakers assistant coaches from coming onto the court. He received a technical foul.

"There was no intent for anyone to hurt anybody like that," Del Negro said. "We're going to protect our basket. When the whistle blows, you're supposed to stop playing, but I didn't think there was anything malicious there. I thought there were some other things in the game that have to be looked at as well."

Del Negro said he hadn't heard from the NBA.

"It was just an intense game," Del Negro said. "It's going to be physical. It's just that you don't want anything that's malicious. No one wants to see anybody get injured. But you want your guys playing hard and playing the right way."

Clippers try to stay fresh

The Clippers begin this week playing back-to-back-to-back games and they also will play five games in seven days.

Because of the heavy schedule, Randy Foye and other Clippers have been taking precautionary measures to stay hydrated. Foye also said he has spent time in the "cold tub" as a way to prevent muscle strains.

"The back-to-back-to-back, I'm definitely not looking forward to this," Foye said. "But at the same time, this is our job and we understand the circumstances and we understand every [other team] is going through it."

Foye started at shooting guard Monday against New Jersey because Paul was sidelined with an injury. Paul is listed as day to day because of a strained left hamstring. Foye had a team-high 10 assists to go along with 13 points.

Team USA

Three Clippers were named as finalists to represent Team USA in the London Olympics this summer.

Griffin and guards Paul and Chauncey Billups will be among a group of 20 players who will try out for the team. "It means a lot to me," Griffin said. "I'm humbled and proud to be on that list. I hope to be able to play in the Olympics."

Another finalist is former Clippers guard Eric Gordon, who plays for the New Orleans Hornets. The U.S. roster will be pared to 12 players by June.

"It's a great honor," Billups said. "It's always been my dream to play in the Olympics."

Williams is feeling better

Point guard Mo Williams sat out his second consecutive game because of a sore right foot and still isn't sure when he'll play. Williams said he'd like to be healthy enough to play Friday against Minnesota or Sunday against Toronto.

Williams left with the Clippers on Monday night for a game in Salt Lake City on Tuesday against the Utah Jazz, but wasn't going to play.

"I'm getting there," Williams said. "There is still some pain there, but I'm feeling better."

Etc.

The Clippers signed point guard Courtney Fortson on Monday. Fortson, who was on the Clippers' training camp roster, played nine minutes in his NBA debut against the Nets and had two assists and one rebound. …Clippers forward Brian Cook didn't play because of a sprained left ankle.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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