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Clippers and Spurs both rely on reserves

Bench has been crucial to the success of Clippers and Spurs.

May 15, 2012|By Broderick Turner

SAN ANTONIO -- Chris Paul doesn't want to add any more pressure to the Clippers' bench just because they will be facing a San Antonio Spurs bench that is one of the best in the NBA.

The Clippers' bench bailed out them at Memphis in Game 7 of the first-round series.

The Clippers go 10 deep off their bench, the Spurs are just as deep, playing with 10 quality players. And San Antonio has Manu Ginobili, one of the best sixth men in the game.

"It's very important for our bench to play well, but at the same time, it's up to us starters to get off to a good start," Paul said. "We can't expect them to bail us out night in and night out. It's a collective team effort. It's not two separate teams playing against each other. It's not like the offense and defense in football. We're one team and one unit and we've got to play like that."

Don't look up

The Spurs have been a model of consistency.

Paul has said how much he respects what the Spurs has done, but when asked if he had looked at the four NBA championship banners hanging from rafters inside AT&T Center as a source of inspiration, he said no.

And Paul had been inside the building twice before Game 1 — on Monday for practice and for Tuesday's shoot-around.

"I haven't even looked up there since we got here, because it's about right now," Paul said. "I respect them for what they've accomplished, but that has nothing to do with right now."

Del Negro respects Popovich

Do the Spurs have the coaching edge in this series with Gregg Popovich?

"Absolutely," said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro, who played under Popovich with the Spurs for two seasons. "Yeah, I mean Pop has done it. He's hung banners. He's been doing it for a long time. He's a guy that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. He's helped me tremendously as a young coach in the league to bounce things off of."

Griffin's health improving

Having most of Sunday off and all of Monday off was a good thing for Blake Griffin and his sprained left knee.

He was injured during Game 5 in the first-round series against Memphis last Wednesday night and wasn't quite the same player in Games 6 and 7.

"I think I know how to deal with it better now," Griffin said. "These past two days have been good. But also, this series might be better for it. It's not as much loading and holding people off, because that's what really gets it. It's not so much just jumping on my own. It's side to side and putting torque on it."

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