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Clippers need 'everything' to improve before season opener

Clippers need 'everything' to improve before season opener
Clippers players, from left, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin take a breather after doing some running at practice. The team is preparing for Monday's preseason game against the Utah Jazz. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

During the next seven days, the Clippers will be in their laboratory at the team’s practice facility cleaning up some things that weren’t quite right when they played their six exhibition games.

Before the media was kicked out of practice Thursday, Chris Paul pointed toward the second unit on one of the courts while they ran drills as a five-man unit, saying the Clippers must make improvements on "offense and the defense."

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When pressed for more details, Paul offered a few things.

"Our cuts can be sharper, our passes can be better – just knowing the offense more," Paul said. "The things that we've added, even our first unit, we need to clean up things."

After winning their last exhibition game Tuesday night in Sacramento, the Clippers start the real season Oct. 27 at Portland.

The time in between will almost be like a training camp for the Clippers to make some of the same strides they displayed at times against the Kings.

"Just like any professional team or any team in general, it's about consistency," Paul said. "That's the things I'm sure Coach [Doc Rivers] is going to harp on -- the fact that we show in spurts that we can do it. But it's about who does it the longest, the right way."

Overall, Rivers said, he was happy with "a lot of things" the Clippers did on the court in their six games and that he liked the "way we're trending."

But Rivers still found fault in how the Clippers were on offense and defense, saying "just everything" had to get better.

"We weren't consistent on anything," Rivers said. "I would say if there was one thing that stood out, it's that we still have to learn to be more consistent game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter. Hopefully that'll come."

Labor negotiations

Paul, the president of the NBA players’ association, said the meeting he attended Wednesday in New York between the players’ union and the NBA in an attempt to strike a new collective bargaining agreement went “very well.”

The current CBA agreement expires in June of 2021, but both sides have until Dec. 15 to opt out of the deal in 2017.

Paul said he was "very" optimistic that there won't be a work stoppage.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said last week while in China for the Global Games that both sides were eager to get a deal done.

Injury update

Forward Luc Mbah a Moute didn't practice Thursday because of a bruised right knee. But Rivers said he expected Mbah a Moute to practice Friday … forward Paul Pierce, who injured his right ankle before the Sacramento game, didn't practice Thursday, either.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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