OKC Thunder: Blake Griffin and the Clippers arrive rested and rolling

THUNDER-CLIPPERS PREVIEW — The Los Angeles Clippers enter Wednesday night's game at Chesapeake Energy Arena having won eight of 10 to charge back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 10, 2012

The one thing most responsible for the Clippers' turnaround since their last visit to OKC?

"You know, to be honest a lot of it for us was rest," Griffin said. "We came here on that three-game stretch … and we were worn down. We were very worn down.

"I'm proud of the way we've played the last 10 games, even though we've lost two of them. There was a lot of talk, a lot of adversity, a lot of negative talk – not within the team but everywhere around it. So I'm proud of the way we responded to that."

This season's condensed 66-game schedule has been a grind for all teams, who have had to adjust on the fly. Although rest no doubt comes in handy, Del Negro points to a different key for his team.

"The guys have to realize that they've got to raise their level of play," Del Negro said. "We have to understand that these are almost like playoff games. Everyone's vying for position. Everyone's trying to get in the playoffs. Everyone's fighting for their lives right now and we have to have that sense of urgency, that desperation to play with like we played in the fourth quarter and get ourselves back in the game."

The Thunder and Clippers will meet for the fourth and final time this season on Monday in Staples Center.

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