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Turkoglu Adjusting to New Role with Clippers

Image NEW ORLEANS – While the Clippers’ latest acquisition, Glen Davis, had a boisterous discussion with his new teammates after Monday’s 123-110 victory over New Orleans, Hedo Turkoglu calmly ate a salad on the other side of the room. Turkoglu, the Clippers’ other midseason pickup, had just left a big stamp on the team’s win and earned praise from Coach Doc Rivers.

“I was really happy with Turk tonight. He was just aggressive. He didn’t play great or bad, he was just aggressive,” Rivers said. “I think when you miss the games he’s missed, he’s been tentative to me. I think tonight, he was aggressive.”

Turkoglu’s aggression led to 12 points off the bench – all from behind the 3-point line.

After he didn’t get off the bench in the Clippers’ win over Oklahoma City, Turkoglu was pressed into action Monday when Blake Griffin picked up two early fouls.

Backing up Griffin, admittedly, is still a learning curve for Turkoglu.

“I came here to play in a role I’ve actually never played in before, backing up Blake at the four,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure out what to do and how to play my game.”

It’s the little things, like catching the ball in the right places, that still have Turkoglu thinking out on the court. But Monday, flashes of the scorer he used to be surfaced as he looked for ways to be involved in the offense.

“As (Rivers) said, when I come into the game, instead of standing still, I have to be more aggressive,” Turkoglu said. “I have to create opportunities for myself and drive and kick to my teammates. That’s what he likes about me, and I can do those things. They all tell me to keep being aggressive all the time. And when I get in the game, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

He’s realistic, though, and knows the days of being a double-digit scorer every night are probably over.

“We play up and down so quick. I’m just in there in for a little bit to give Blake some rest,” he said. “But when I get into the game, I want to be aggressive and put my work in.”

BARNES, COLLISON PLAYING FREE

The trade deadline passed without the Clippers making a major move, but their publicized talks with the New York Knicks seemed to have had consequences.

Matt Barnes and Darren Collison, the two principal pieces being discussed in a deal for Iman Shumpert, acknowledged to being affected by reports of the discussions, and it bled over onto the court.

Barnes struggled in the home loss to San Antonio before the deadline and Collison scuffled in a road loss to Memphis after, but both players have regrouped.

Collison created havoc in the win over the Thunder on Sunday, helping force back-up point guard Reggie Jackson into a four turnover, 3-of-12 shooting game. Then against New Orleans, Collison scored 12 points off the bench, playing with confidence and pace.

“It’s over now,” he said of the deadline. “It kind of affected me the first game, but I’m good. It’s over now so we can just get over it and look forward to better things.”

Barnes said the talks reminded him of the business nature of the game.

“It made me realize that I’m here for the remainder of the season, but also made me realize that I can’t look beyond that anymore,” Barnes said. “I have to take care of business while I’m here. Just because I have two more years on my deal, it doesn’t mean I’ll be here for two more years.”

 
(D Woike, ocregister.com)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07

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