SAN ANTONIO -- For the better part of the 24 minutes, the Clippers were frozen in a state of shock.
The ball didn't move on offense, and their feet didn't move on defense. The result? San Antonio led by 35 points at halftime.
But despite losing, 116-92, to the Spurs on Saturday night at the AT&T Center, the Clippers learned about life without Chris Paul. And, in the long run, that could be even more valuable than a win.
"We didn't move the ball," Coach Doc Rivers said. "It's probably a good lesson for us. Without CP, you're not going to dance around with the ball and make things happen. CP has that ability; no one else does. But, when we started moving the ball in the second half, we looked like a basketball team again. In the first half, we looked more AAU."
While the Clippers looked like a basketball team, they cut San Antonio's 70-35 halftime lead to 13 points in the fourth quarter before the Spurs and Tim Duncan put the game away.
"We expected to come back," Willie Green said. "We knew that you have to play near-perfect though."
The biggest change the Clippers made came on the offensive end, where they began to move the ball and rely on one another, instead of triggering San Antonio's offense with ill-advised shots.
"We just got away from playing our brand of basketball. We had no motion offensively," Blake Griffin said. "But you saw when we came out and buckled down in the second half and really played our game what we did.
"It's a good learning point for us moving forward. We have to play like that to beat a team this good."
Rivers said his team must rely on ball movement, and it clearly worked. Unfortunately for the Clippers, it was far too little far too late.
"We gave ourselves a chance in a crazy game to almost get back into that game," he said. "And that was good."
NEWS TO DOC
Clippers coach Doc Rivers probably won't read this story. He says he almost never does.
But someone recommended he take a look at a story published on ESPN.com late Thursday night, a story with the headline "Teams discuss major deal internally."
Inside the story, Chris Broussard reports that the New York Knicks "have discussed proposing a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers for Blake Griffin," sending Carmelo Anthony to the Clippers in return.
The story also said the Clippers have had "internal discussions" about such a deal, even though the trade hasn't been proposed and neither team would necessarily do the trade.
Rivers talked about the story before Saturday's game with San Antonio, and he didn't hold back his thoughts.
"It's just so stupid. I rarely read stuff, and someone told me to read that. It didn't say anything about us. It's just stupid," he said. "My whole issue with any of that (stuff), that network, to me, reports a story they created. Then, they do reports on it for the next two days, on a story, they created."
Rivers used the word "stupid" four times in discussing the story.
Griffin, 24, is enjoying the best all-around season of his career, averaging 22.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists, while hitting 52 percent from the field and a career-best 70.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Anthony, one of the best scorers in the NBA, can opt out of his deal with the New York Knicks after this season and become an unrestricted free agent. A close friend of Chris Paul, it's been reported the two players would like to play together.
Rivers insisted that Griffin's name is "not out there" on the trading block, though the Knicks would be silly not to ask for him.
"If you're the Knicks or whoever, wouldn't you want Blake Griffin? I would. I don't see what the story is," Rivers said. "Call (Gregg Popovich) and ask him if he'd like Blake. I think so. That's the way I look at it.
"I just thought it was such a non-story."
Roster move coming?
While the Clippers won't be making a Griffin-for-Anthony swap anytime soon, Rivers did say the team will likely have to make a roster move once they get a better handle on Paul's timetable.
Paul, who separated his right shoulder Friday, is scheduled for an MRI on Sunday and will meet with a specialist Monday, at which point the Clippers should know about how much time he'll miss.
Rivers said he already began checking names of point guards who are not currently on NBA rosters.
"You're looking at guys who are out of the league. There are a few guys who can get out of their contracts in China," Rivers said. "You have to look at all that stuff.
"We're not going to do much right now. We're going to wait and see what the report is on Chris."
The Clippers have until Friday to release either Stephen Jackson or Maalik Wayns without their contracts becoming fully guaranteed. The Clippers can also begin signing players to 10-day contracts starting Monday.
"We're going to have to add someone, no doubt," Rivers said. "But I don't know who."
Wayns could be one option, as he works his way back from knee surgery this preseason. Wayns has been active the last three games, but he's not yet played.
J.J. Redick shot Saturday for the first time since breaking a bone in his right hand and tearing a ligament in his right wrist Nov. 29. He's on track to return to the lineup after this week. ... Darren Collison admitted he needs to adjust his style now that he's the Clippers' starting point guard and not the primary scorer on the second unit. Collison had 14 points and six assists in 36 minutes Saturday. ... Rookie Reggie Bullock was close to returning to action, but he re-injured his left ankle last Tuesday.
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