Days before the Clippers stumbled Friday night at Detroit, Coach Doc Rivers had informed his coaching staff that the team would practice Saturday when they arrived here.
Rivers insisted he has never “made up my mind before the game” to practice because it could be “out of anger” and not because of need.
So when the Clippers lost for the first time in four games to the Pistons in Detroit, Rivers had already predetermined that his group would have a session before they played the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon.
“I told our coaches two days ago we were going to practice today no matter what,” Rivers said. “We’re not going to do much. But any chance you get …you can’t decide after games. That’s just the worst time, because that’s more of an emotional practice and you get nothing out of that. But you feel better.”
Despite a 14-3 start, Rivers could see his team losing some if its edge.
But in reality, that’s not surprising considering the Clippers haven’t practiced since Oct. 29 because their schedule has been so demanding.
Since their regular-season home opener against Utah at Staples Center on Oct. 30, the Clippers have played 16 games in 27 days, the most in the NBA over that span.
So even though the Clippers were winning at a high level, Rivers knew his guys weren’t as sharp as they could be.
“Our slippage is off the charts, defensively more than offensively,” Rivers said. “We’ve been getting away with it, really. We want to be good. We don’t want to be lucky.
“Our pick-and-roll D has to sure up, transition D, just our weak-side help, which I thought was our biggest step forward. We’re kind of regressing a little bit, so it’s all fixable, nothing hard. I think when you play so many games, you don’t see it. So I think this will be good for us.”
Mostly, Rivers said, the Clippers would review some things on film, run through a few things and get up some shots.
Chris Paul says everything can “easily be corrected.”
“Over the course of an 82-game season, you try to make sure you have the right approach every night,” Paul said. “I honestly think we’ve had the right approach going into every game. Obviously we’re 14-3 now. It’s been a couple of those games where we really haven’t played well, or the defense wasn’t as good as we like. But I think the spirit has been right every night.”
The Clippers weren’t that usual effective team during the game against the Pistons, turning the ball over twice late in the game, not getting defensive stops.
“I think we’ll keep working on a few sets – obviously things that are more effective down the stretch,” Paul said. “We’re playing games and you’re sort of just finding stuff. But I’m sure we’ll talk about a few that we like and things that we need to clean up.”
When: 3 p.m. PST, Sunday.
Where: Bakers Life Field House.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Records: Clippers 14-3; Pacers 8-9.
Records vs. Pacers: Clippers 1-1 (2015-16 season).
Update: The Clippers are the only team in the NBA ranked in the top five in offensive rating (third, 111.4), and defensive rating (tied for third, 99.2). The Pacers won’t have All-Star forward Paul George (sore left ankle) and center Kevin Seraphin (sore left knee).