After landing in China, Clippers started with a great practice


Oct 2, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Josh Smith (right) reacts with center DeAndre Jordan (6) and guard Chris Paul (3) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have officially arrived in Shenzhen. After flying approximately 7,220 miles from L.A., the team area ready to begin their one week stint in China which includes two preseason games against the Charlotte Hornets.

After a flight of that length, not to mention the jet lag and being swamped by thousands of fans and media members, it would only be expected if the intensity of the team wasn’t quite as high as normal. Yet, after their first practice session, the Clippers got off to a solid start as they look to improve on their 1-1 preseason record and bond as a team.

It’s exactly what the Clippers need. With a totally new bench and so many chemistry issues on the court to work out, they need to begin their 2015-16 season in the best way possible. If they are going to establish that momentum, they need to make the most of every practice opportunity they can before the real action begins in the regular season.

Thankfully for the Clippers, though, that seems to be exactly what they’re doing.

Rowan Kavner of has reported what Doc Rivers and Jamal Crawford had to say after their arrival and first practice in Shenzhen:


"“I thought we had good energy,” Rivers said. “I was surprised. We really didn’t want to practice contact today, and because the guys had so much energy, we did that. The way we traveled yesterday was great. I thought we got in at a great time, they had a great dinner prepared for us at the hotel. I think we kind of beat that and guys felt pretty good today.”“I think it’ll be great for our team, because it’s a new team,” Rivers said. “I think when you go out of your comfort zone, it forces your team to kind of spend more time together than they would, probably, at home. It’s probably a better thing we’re here.”"

He also added a comment about how the new talent the Clippers have gives them more energy in training:

"“We’re not going to have many sluggish practices,” Rivers said. “We just have too many good players that can attack the other player. So, eventually, even on days they don’t want to practice, it turns into a good practice.”"


"“It definitely is a work trip,” Crawford said. “It was a competitive practice; it really was. You need, I think, something like that after a long flight. We’ve had two good practices in a row.”“When we got here, it was well worth it,” Crawford said. “Obviously, it’s a business trip, you have things to do. But you have downtime, you hang with your teammates, your teammates’ families, and I think that’s how you build that bond and foundation.”"

It’s good to hear that the team are rested enough to get another good practice in, which is going to be needed if they want to bounce back from their 93-73 loss against the Toronto Raptors.


The bench has been the worrying part of their performance so far, but it’s important to emphasize that it’s to be expected. Precisely as Doc said, the Clippers are a new team. With that in mind, the importance of maintaining focus on their games at hand and using this opportunity to develop a stronger bond among the team — both on and off the court — is key.

As discussed in my recent column on the Clippers’ chemistry, it’s clear that Doc will have bench issues to consider when they face the Hornets on October 11:

"From poor mid-range shooting from Stephenson and Smith to the general lack of organized offense that has led to poor passing and too many turnovers, the problems we knew would appear have been totally obvious. In their second game against the Toronto Raptors alone, the Clippers lost 93-73 as the bench committed 18 of the team’s very generous 25 turnovers…The second unit may have be shooting a troubling 32.9 percent from the floor in preseason so far and have a +/- of -12.4, but it’s only two games and that can change. A trip to China to bond with teammates, develop chemistry, and hopefully stronger performances in their next two games, can go a surprisingly long way in improving some of these early struggles."

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