Los Angeles Clippers: Andrea Bargnani
January, 21, 2012
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers finally let their fourth-quarter collapses get to them Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, falling 101-98 despite taking a 12-point lead early in the final period.
Sunday, they get a fairly easy chance to rebound against the Toronto Raptors before taking two days off and facing the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Here are three things to pay attention to once the ball is tipped at Staples Center.
1. Rebounding and beating the teams you're supposed to beat
No, not that type of rebounding. The Clippers have actually gotten quite the hang of the glass since adding Reggie Evans. It's not nearly the issue it was two weeks ago.
What is an issue, though: Rebounding from a letdown loss. The 8-5 Clips shouldn't have lost to the Timberwolves on Friday, and they know it.
"It's a game we definitely should have won," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Saturday, clearly still peeved.
It's a similar situation Sunday against the 4-12 Raptors, who haven't beaten a .500 or better team all season and have only won one game over the last 18 days.
The Clippers had their longest film session of the 2011-2012 season Saturday, and Del Negro held the players in practice over an hour after the scheduled end time, stressing some basics like down-the-stretch execution and free-throw shooting.
The message wasn't so much tied to the Raptors. It was mainly about the Clippers themselves and what they could to do to prevent the second two-game losing streak of the season.