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Clippers are just moseying along

CLIPPERS FYI

Team is 7-4 since the All-Star break but is not exactly playing with a lot of gusto.

March 18, 2013|By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times

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For the most part, the Clippers plodded along in their victory against the New York Knicks on Sunday.

In many ways, that has defined how the Clippers have played since the All-Star break.

Though they are 7-4 since the break, the Clippers seem to be trudging through this part of the season.

"Like I was telling the guys at practice, we haven't been playing the style that we want to play," Chris Paul said after Sunday's game. "And if that's the case, then we can get better. So we've got to really concentrate on these 15 games."

That's how many games the Clippers have left in the regular season. They also are jockeying for playoff seeding in the Western Conference.

Through Sunday, the Clippers were seeded third in the West, but the fourth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and fifth-seeded Denver Nuggets were right on their heels.

"You want to be playing, not just for the seeding, but you just want to be playing well going into the playoffs, obviously," Blake Griffin said. "It's a time where everybody's intensity needs to be turned up, be dialed in every single game no matter who we're playing. Home or away, we need every game. So there're all big games from here on out."

The Clippers, who didn't practice Monday, play the Kings in Sacramento on Tuesday. Sacramento has the seventh-worst record (23-44) in the NBA.

But this is the time of the season when the Clippers all feel they have to push themselves so they can finish the season strong.

"It's weird honestly, because it's kind of the dog days of the NBA," Jamal Crawford said. "It's the last 15 games. You know you're going to be in the playoffs, but you still want to play well and build momentum and continue to get better, continue to work on areas you need to work on. That's what we're trying to do as we go to the playoffs."

Getting into a zone

The Clippers have struggled at times this season with their man-to-man defense.

As a result, sometimes they have switched to a zone defense and have had some pretty good results, like in the Oklahoma City game this month when the Clippers used a 3-2 zone to turn a double-digit deficit into a lead.

So, don't be surprised to see the Clippers to use more zone defense.

"Just throw something else in," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Just something hopefully we can use as a weapon at times if we need to, to slow somebody down or change the complexion of the game or protect guys that are in foul trouble."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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