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Clippers get benefits by the minute

Team's depth is allowing starters more rest time during games and Blake Griffin, for one, is happy about having less wear and tear on the body.

November 12, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • The team's depth is allowing starters more rest time during games.
The team's depth is allowing starters more rest time during games. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Having such a deep bench has not only benefited the Clippers in wearing down their opponents, but it also has allowed the team to cut down its starters' minutes.

Blake Griffin, for one, already has seen how his body has reacted to playing fewer minutes.

"You can just tell the next day," Griffin said Monday. "The difference between playing 28 minutes and 38 minutes is tremendous on your body. That's something I've never really experienced."

Griffin recalled how he played 38 minutes per game during his rookie season in 2010-11 and 36.2 minutes per game last season. He said it took a toll.

But now, Griffin said, he has "less wear and tear on my body" because he's playing only 32 minutes per game.

"I just remember my first year, after the All-Star break, just being dead tired," Griffin said. "And it was my first year. I didn't really know what to expect."

Starting point guard Chris Paul is averaging 32.9 minutes per game, with a high of 34 in a game. He averaged 36.4 minutes per game last season.

Starters DeAndre Jordan (25.3), Caron Butler (25.9) and Willie Green (19.0) also are seeing the benefits of being fresh with less playing time.

Jamal Crawford leads the Clippers' reserves in minutes played, averaging 28.9 minutes.

Eric Bledsoe (18.1), Matt Barnes (24.2), Ryan Hollins (14.7), Lamar Odom (11.0) and Ronny Turiaf (13.3) have been solid enough to give the starters more time to rest.

"We want to take advantage of that," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Some nights we'll be able to get away with that, but there's going to be some nights obviously where Chris and Blake, especially, are going to have to play heavier minutes. But if we can balance it out with the depth of our team, I think it makes us stronger in the long run and that's what we're trying to do.'

Etc.

Del Negro said he wasn't surprised that the Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni as coach.

"Mike has been a quality coach in this league for a long time," Del Negro said. "It's difficult coming in, for anybody, without a training camp. But I'm sure he'll handle the situation as best he can."

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