Dynamic duo in front­court is prov­ing hard to guard

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Brod­er­ick Turner brod­er­ick.turner@la­times.com Twit­ter: @BA_Turner

To­bias Har­ris and Danilo Gal­li­nari, the Clippers’ mul­ti­fac­eted for­wards, have sown seeds of doubt for op­po­nents try­ing to de­fend them.

Is 6-foot-10 Gal­li­nari the power for­ward and 6-9 Har­ris the small for­ward? Or vice versa?

The re­al­ity is that both sim­ply are for­wards the Clippers can slide into any spot to pro­vide them with of­fen­sive flex­i­bil­ity, and that has con­fused teams dur­ing pre­sea­son games.

“Yeah, they are con­fused on what to do,” Gal­li­nari said late Thurs­day night af­ter the Clippers wrapped up their pre­sea­son with a 5-0 record fol­low­ing a 124-76 vic­tory over Is­raeli team Mac­cabi Haifa. “It’s tough to guard. When I’m at the four, they have to find a way to guard me at the four. When I’m at the three, they got to find a way to guard me at the three and it’s the same thing for To­bias. Hope­fully ev­ery game we’ll get bet­ter to­gether.”

Har­ris has the ball­han­dling skills to run the of­fense. He can shoot the three­p­ointer ef­fi­ciently, post up, pass and score from all an­gles on the court. Ditto for Gal­li­nari.

“They are very un­selfish,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I would say To­bias takes on the role of scorer more. Gal can score just as well. Gal prob­a­bly wants to pass more. But they both are ef­fec­tive to­gether. They play off each other. They cre­ate switches on their own of­fen­sively. It cre­ates prob­lems for other teams.”

Har­ris and Gal­li­nari are still learn­ing each other’s games. Af­ter Har­ris was ac­quired from Detroit in Jan­uary as part of the Blake Grif­fin trade, he and Gal­li­nari played to­gether in just nine games. In­juries kept Gal­li­nari out of 23 games af­ter the trade and 61 games over­all.

“We know what we can do to­gether,” Gal­li­nari said. “It’s tough to play against us. It’s great to play with a guy that knows how to play bas­ket­ball.

“He knows how to do a lot of stuff on the court. He un­der­stands right away what I want. I know what he wants. We know each other pretty well. We’ve been work­ing out to­gether this sum­mer.”

Cut­down time

Ros­ter cuts loom for the Clippers. They must trim two play­ers to reach the NBA max­i­mum of 15 and the de­ci­sion must be made by 2 p.m. Mon­day.

The Clippers have 15 guar­an­teed con­tracts. Pa­trick Bev­er­ley’s $5-mil­lion con­tract won’t be­come guar­an­teed un­til Jan. 10, but he’s pegged to be the start­ing point guard, so he is safe.

About $300,000 of Ty­rone Wal­lace’s $1.349-mil­lion con­tract is guar­an­teed. Sec­ondyear guards Jawun Evans and Sin­dar­ius Thorn­well are low-salary play­ers at $1.3 mil­lion each.

“There will be a good player or two that won’t be with us,” Rivers said. “They are all NBA play­ers. I think ev­ery guy on our ros­ter is an NBA player. Un­for­tu­nately we have too many of them. So, we’re go­ing to have to make a tough de­ci­sion.”

The Clippers signed guard Jamel Ar­tis on Fri­day, but he won’t be added to their ros­ter. His deal is par­tially guar­an­teed for the Clippers’ devel­op­ment league team, the Agua Caliente Clippers of On­tario.

Mark J. Ter­rill As­so­ci­ated Press

TO­BIAS HAR­RIS gives the Clippers a ver­sa­tile scor­ing for­ward, as does front­court mate Danilo Gal­li­nari.

Michael Owen Baker As­so­ci­ated Press

DANILO GAL­LI­NARI played just nine games with Har­ris last sea­son but says they work “pretty well.”

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