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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers know they need to improve

Team would like to get some momentum before the playoffs.

March 14, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both said the Clippers need to improve their defense as they head into their final 16 regular season games.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both said the Clippers need to improve their… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

The Clippers are 6-4 since the All-Star break — not bad, but not up to their expectations.

They recognize that there has been some slippage in their play, offensively and defensively.

But the Clippers also say there is time to get their groove back, to become a better team than they have shown in recent games.

"I like to think it's possible to be a better team," Chris Paul said Wednesday, after the Clippers lost to Memphis. "We've got to get better defensively. Every night they [opponents] pretty much know what we're going to do. We know what other teams are going to do. We've just got to get better, communicate, and be a little more aggressive on both ends."

The Clippers (45-21) have 16 regular-season games left.

They didn't practice Thursday but will go back to work on Friday and Saturday in preparation for Sunday's game against the New York Knicks at Staples Center.

The idea is to start gaining some momentum before the playoffs. Currently, the Clippers are seeded fourth in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Memphis.

"I've been on a team that was a two-seed going into the playoffs and I've been on a team that's a seven-seed," Paul said. "Then, when you get into the playoffs, sometimes you have the ability to be on a team where it doesn't matter what seed you are. You've just got to make sure you're playing the right way."

Defensive needs

The loss to the Grizzlies was another reminder that the Clippers have to remain committed to playing defense, as they were worked over inside and outside by the Grizzlies.

Memphis scored 46 points in the paint and made 50% (six of 12) of its three-point attempts. Keep in mind, Memphis is the seventh-worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, making 34.7% for the season.

"When early on we were winning games and had that streak and even before that, the way we played defensively was aggressive," Blake Griffin said. "We messed up at times, our rotations weren't great at times, but I thought for the most part, we did a great job of forcing teams to figure out … our defense."

Etc.

The Clippers waived forward Trey Thompkins and will sign DaJuan Summers from the Development League. Thompkins, a 2011 second-round draft pick from Georgia, didn't play in any games for the Clippers this season because of a bone bruise in his left knee.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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