Last preseason: Blake Griffin injured.
This preseason: Griffin injured.
That’s where the similarities end. Just in case Griffin’s ankle injury and absence from Sunday’s exhibition game seem alarming for Clippers fans, it should be remembered, of course, that not all injuries are created equal.
With Griffin’s knee injury last season, it became fairly clear within a day that it was a serious one and ended up season-ending. This injury, a sprained left ankle, was more of a tweak, and Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said it was not serious. He thought Griffin would try to practice Monday and would play Tuesday.
“To be honest with you, I was kind of thinking about giving him the night off anyway,” said Del Negro before the Clippers’ 108-104 loss to the Nuggets. “It made my decision much easier. He kind of turned his ankle a little bit yesterday [against the Jazz] in the game. He’s fine.
“He did it at the beginning of the game and he played the whole game. He’s actually a lot better right now. If it was regular season, he’d play. Just want to be smart and use the time to fix it.”
Odds and ends
Another day, another 100-plus points given up. The Clippers, now 1-6, keep giving up 100 or more points, which has happened in all but one game in the preseason. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, among others, did not play for the Nuggets.
The Clippers had 19 turnovers, all but two coming from the heavily played bench. Eric Gordon was rested and limited to just under five minutes, and the only starter with 20-plus minutes was Baron Davis.
Former Laker Brian Cook, one of three free agents signed in the summer, had a game-high 28 points, and another free-agent signee, Randy Foye, had 19 points and four turnovers. Rookie Al-Farouq Aminu had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Said Del Negro: “It’s hard to take anything from this game just because there’s so many guys out.”
Davis spoke about one of the ills ailing the Clippers — turnovers, pointing out the rash of two or three in a row and squandered possessions.
“If we were forcing more turnovers, that would help our cause,” Davis said.
He said the eight-day break between the final exhibition game Tuesday and start of the regular season was “almost like a blessing in disguise.”
“For me, the longer the better,” Davis said. “We need the time.”
As for center Chris Kaman, he had similar thoughts about the turnovers.
“If you have two turnovers in a row, that means they had two shots, easy opportunities, and we had two throwaways, giveaways, where we didn’t get a shot off.
“It’s better to shoot the ball and miss than to turn the ball over. At least you’re getting an opportunity to get a make, and it gets you an opportunity to get your guys back on defense on the rebound.”
Separately, Kaman thought the officials had changed the way they were calling games, early on.
“I think they’re just kind of rusty, maybe,” he said. “I’m not sure. The beginning of the season, they’re trying to get their game right just like we are. Maybe a combination of that and we’re trying to be aggressive. We’re really aggressive. We maybe make some stupid fouls here and there, but I think we’re doing a good job of being aggressive.
“Maybe the refs just have to get used to the Clippers being more aggressive defensively and up in people’s faces. Because that’s what we’re trying to do.”