The Clippers insist they will approach their first exhibition game by focusing on how they perform and not about who their opponent is Tuesday night.
It’s all about continuing to make strides during training camp, they said, and the exhibition in Oakland against their Pacific Division rivals, the Golden State Warriors, doesn’t have any extra meaning.
That’s the Clippers’ story — and they were sticking to it before practice Monday.
“I’m sure it’d be a good story, but no,” Chris Paul said. “No, because we say game in and game out it’s about us. So no matter who we play against, we want to make sure that we’re trying to execute our offense and defense as well as possible.”
Still, there’s no denying that the Clippers and Warriors have had an acrimonious relationship over the last three seasons.
The Clippers were swept in four regular-season games against the Warriors last season, pushing Los Angeles’ losing streak in the series to six games.
When Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was asked how much time he spent thinking about the impact of Durant’s joining the Warriors, he was quick with his answer.
“You pay attention to it. But other than that, what do you do? . . . We worry about our team for the most part,” he said.
Only Paul and Rivers spoke before Monday’s practice at the team’s training facility, leaving them to field questions about the the Warriors, who lost their first exhibition at Toronto on Saturday night.
The Clippers spent five days holding training camp at UC Irvine, finishing with an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday.
Now they will try to employ what they’ve learned against the Warriors.
“What I want to see is the things that we’ve done in camp, the little things that we’ve implemented into our offense and our defense,” Paul said. “Just see how we’ve come together, to see it and see if it has some structure to it. During practice, coach stops it; it may be possession-to-possession stops. Now it’s a real game situation, so it will be good to see how guys react.”
Rivers doesn’t plan on playing his starters heavy minutes, but he wants to win the game.
“Typically, the first game I just let them go out and play and see what we’ve put in and see how you like it,” Rivers said. “You evaluate some of the individual talent on your team. You look for combinations and stuff like that. Other than that, it’s more just them getting in front of somebody else, in front of a crowd. You also see how guys act. It’ll be fun.”