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  • Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Ivica Zubac finding fast on-court chemistry

    first_imgLOS ANGELES — The Croatian and the Canadian are clicking quickly.Ivica Zubac said it took him only one game to realize that he and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be embarking on the start of a beautiful on-court friendship.The Clippers’ new starting center flourished in his debut with the team on Feb. 9, contributing 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in a rousing come-from-behind victory in Boston, a win that Zubac said he remembers for the first lob he received from Gilgeous-Alexander.“I sensed it since the first game, when he threw me the lob against Boston,” Zubac said Friday morning at shootaround. “I was like, ‘I don’t know if I got two lobs in my career (and) I already got three with him.’ I can see he knows how to pass since Day 1, and with time it’s only gonna get better.” Mbah a Moute remains sidelined with that lingering knee issue, said Rivers, adding that the 32-year-old forward was able to participate only in part of Wednesday’s practice and not at all in Thursday’s.“Luc’s out, but Wilson will play,” Rivers reported before tip-off. “(Chandler) gives us size because he can play the 3 or 4, gives us another shooter, really stretches the floor and I think he gives us a lot of toughness; he’s a tough, good defensive player.“Now, saying all that,” the coach added, “he hasn’t played in a while, so I don’t know what he can give us right away. But he looked good. You could tell he’s watched a lot of film, which is really nice because offensively the things we were running, he picked up on a lot of it pretty well.” That practice time is going to be key down the stretch of a team that’s fielding five newly acquired players and is hoping for the return of Luc Mbah a Moute from a sore left knee sometime in the not-too-distant future.“We’re doing really good I think with all the new guys, and with practicing it’s gonna get better,” Zubac said. “We’ve been working on some stuff we had didn’t have time to work on. It’s only going to get better with practice.“Now’s the right time to improve, we’ve gotta continue winning games, we’ve gotta keep doing this playoff push.”CHANDLER AVAILABLEWilson Chandler was set to make his Clippers debut on Friday after a couple impressive practices this week, Rivers said.Chandler, a 6-foot-9 forward, has been recovering from a right quad strain he suffered in a game against Golden State on Jan. 31, when he was still on the Philadelphia 76ers.Related Articles Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum center_img Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 In 10 games together so far, the young duo – Zubac, a 21-year-old center, and Gilgeous-Alexander, a 20-year-old rookie point guard – has a respectable 3.0 net rating, which is only going to get better, Clippers coach Doc Rivers predicted.“They’re getting it, especially in the pick-and-roll stuff,” Rivers said before Friday’s game against Oklahoma City at Staples Center. “We hope they’re together for a long time, so the better and the quicker they can get their rhythm, the better for the team, obviously. They clearly have it going a little bit and that’s good, good for both.“I just set a screen and roll hard,” Zubac said. “(Gilgeous-Alexander is) trying to get myself open, trying to get him open, and it’s either me or him and he can make that pass so it’s been a really good combination.”TALKING ABOUT PRACTICEThe Clippers enjoyed a rare three-day break between their victory over the Lakers on Monday and Friday’s matchup with the Thunder, practicing twice in that span and holding a shootaround Friday.“For the veterans, they probably needed the rest; we didn’t go but an hour each (practice),” Rivers said. “But for the young guys and the new guys, they just needed to get on the floor so we could put in a couple things and work sets so they can actually understand the second and third options of things.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more