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Clippers' Matt Barnes expects to play Friday

Small forward, sidelined for the first seven exhibitions by a sore calf, says he can have an effect on the Clippers' second unit.

October 24, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers forward Matt Barnes protests a foul call during a game against the Lakers last season.
Clippers forward Matt Barnes protests a foul call during a game against… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

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After missing the first seven exhibitions because of a sore left calf, Clippers small forward Matt Barnes said that he would practice Thursday and hoped to play Friday night against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center in L.A.'s final exhibition.

Barnes hasn't gotten in a full practice since he was injured about three weeks ago. He said it was important to see how his "running and endurance" would be at practice Thursday.

"If everything goes well," Barnes said, "I should be playing tomorrow."

The Clippers open the regular against the Lakers on Tuesday night and Barnes, a tough defender who also moves well without the ball, is an important part of the Clippers' second team.

"It's been frustrating, but also educational to really see where I can have an effect on that second unit," Barnes said. "Our second still doesn't have an identity. I think just sitting back watching these last seven games, I really see where I can help filling voids and really be that voice for that second unit to get us to do what we need to do offensively and defensively."

Intense practices

Every time the Clippers have practiced during training camp under new Coach Doc Rivers, the sessions have been "playoff-type practices," said guard Jamal Crawford.

Crawford said Rivers wants the practices to simulate real games.

"Even if we run a play and run it correctly, he wants to run it to the last option," Crawford said Thursday. "Then he wants to do it again because he saw something else. So he's always thinking about the situation and what it'll be like down the road."

Rivers mentioned how the Clippers slipped up on some out-of-bounds plays in their exhibition Wednesday against Utah, as well as not boxing out during free throws and losing an offensive rebound to the Jazz. He said those plays could be the difference in a playoff game.

"We've got to get our guys thinking that way," Rivers said. "The regular season and the playoffs are single-possession games. Every single possession can be the difference in the game. That's the urgency that great teams play with and that's what we've got to get to."

Twitter: BA_Turner

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