first_imgThe Nuggets’ first two preseason games – both victories in Southern California against the Lakers – were something to write home to Denver about: The first was a blowout, the second a comeback from 18 points down.Back in Denver last week, the Nuggets sent out their starting five for the first time but had a tough time in their tuneup against Australia’s Perth Wildcats. The second unit buoyed Denver in its 96-88 victory as standout center Nikola Jokic shot just 1 for 5 from the floor and Paul Millsap drew two technical fouls and was ejected.Rivers said he was unsure what lineup he would send out Tuesday, in the preview of their regular season-opener on Oct. 17 at Staples Center.He said he’d likely hold out a couple of players again, and he thought Milos Teodosic, who has missed every preseason game with an ailing hamstring, possibly could play, although he would wait to see how the guard felt after Monday’s practice. Luc Mbah a Moute, who was sidelined with a strained calf against the Lakers, also was expected to remain sidelined.COACH PATThere was no way Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could, on the spot, pick out a particular pearl of wisdom that fellow guard Patrick Beverley dished during Saturday’s 103-87 victory over the Lakers in Anaheim. Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters LOS ANGELES — Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was in the house to greet the 5,000-plus fans who RSVP’d for his team’s open practice Monday evening at the Galen Center on USC’s campus.Before that, the former Microsoft CEO delivered a message espousing grit to the Clippers players, who host the Denver Nuggets in their fourth of five preseason games on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center.“I tell him all the time it’s good for him to get around the guys,” Coach Doc Rivers said of the richest owner in America’s major sports (with a net worth of $43.5 billion.) “I think that’s important for him. He enjoys it, the players enjoy it, you know he’s done pretty well in his life so he has a pretty good message.”Rivers’ message to his players is for them to just keep doing what they’re doing: “Just keep growing.” Preseason victories don’t amount to much, but he said he appreciated his squad figuring out ways to win, including overcoming a poor shooting night Saturday to defeat the Lakers 103-87. “He doesn’t stop talking,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “He’s always talking defensively, he always has something for us.”Beverley even talked defense with a reporter from TMZ in July, telling the tabloid news site that his “Clippers, when we’re healthy” can beat anyone. “If the Clippers are healthy, we’re fine. … We got the team we have and we’re excited. We have two of the best defensive players in the NBA – in history, to ever play, that’s like two Gary Paytons playing with each other.”After missing all but 11 games last year with a knee injury, Beverley came out with a season’s worth of pent-up energy in the Clippers’ first two preseason games. Sure of Beverley’s readiness, Rivers on Saturday rested the 30-year-old (along with forward Danilo Gallinari) – but it wasn’t like Beverley took the night off.“Coach Pat?” Rivers said. “He was great.”Beverley was in and out of his seat on the bench all game long, dispensing advice, cheerleading, and sharing opinions – with Clippers and Lakers alike.“He’s one of the most vocal guys on the team,” forward Tobias Harris said. “I consider him our vocal leader, someone who is always expressing his voice, to help guys, and just teach guys.”And Gilgeous-Alexander is doing his best to take it all in, it seems.“He’s a really good leader,” the rookie said. “Communicates a lot and helps all of us out on the floor.”GETTING ’ROME GOINGThe Clippers really want to get rookie guard Jerome Robinson – who last season led the ACC in scoring at 20.7 points per game – to be an offensive spark when he’s on the floor this season.Related Articles For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 center_img Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Doc Rivers continued to stress it, before and after Saturday’s game – in which the 13th pick in this summer’s draft played 16 minutes and went 1 of 5 from the floor. His lone basket was a beauty: Robinson pump-faked his defender into the air, stepped back and drained a 3-pointer.“I’ve seen Jerome in practice make strides in different areas,” Harris said. “The level of talent he already has, it’s a matter of confidence and continuing to get comfortable.”“He’ll get it,” Rivers said. “Loved the pump-fake three. He can shoot the ball. I was an awful shooter and coaches still had to tell me to stop shooting; he’s a great shooter and he’s got a coach to tell him to shoot. It’s amazing, but he’ll get it because you could see the improvement tonight.” Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates last_img

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