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Clippers’ Jerome Robinson making subtle strides

first_img Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day.There’s pressure that comes with being an NBA lottery pick, lofty expectations attached to being drafted 13th overall and arriving with the reputation – based on a 40.9 collegiate 3-point shooting percentage – as a sharpshooter.Sure, sometimes Zion Williamson introduces himself by erupting for 17 consecutive points in three minutes. But more often, life in the NBA (and life in general) doesn’t deliver such instant gratification.Second-year Clippers guard Jerome Robinson gets that. “There’s not grown men in our league for no reason,” Robinson said last week. “There’s not guys who are in their 30s or late-20s flourishing in our league for no reason.“It’s all opportunity and just figuring out the game and figuring out your game. So once the pieces are put together, look how (players such as Markelle Fultz or Brandon Ingram) have blossomed. It’s just staying focused and trying to get better every day, that’s all you can really do.”Heading into Friday’s game in Miami, the Clippers’ first meeting with the Heat, Robinson is figuring it out, one subtle step at a time.Take Wednesday’s 102-95 loss in Atlanta, when the Clippers couldn’t overcome a spectacular second-half collapse or the fact that they allowed a season-high 63 rebounds, including a season-worst 23 on the offensive glass, to a Hawks team that was averaging 42.5 boards, third-fewest in the NBA.For 19 minutes sprinkled across the Clippers’ early surge and their subsequent crash, Robinson exhibited those continued incremental improvements, getting a smart wrap-around pass to a red-hot Montrezl Harrell, showing himself to be an engaged rebounder, keeping his feet moving defensively. For his part, Robinson, who is shooting just 34.1 percent overall and 29.7 percent from 3-point range, said he’s learned the key to unlocking more offensive opportunities will come on the defensive end.“I have limited minutes, so I’m coming out regardless,” he said. “It’s playing those minutes as hard as I can, no matter how it’s going for me offensively, just giving that effort on the defensive end.“Everything else will take care of itself.”—– CLIPPERS AT HEAT —–When: Friday, 5 p.m.Where: American Airlines Arena, MiamiTV: ESPN, Fox Sports Prime Ticket Clippers’ Paul George: ‘If I make shots, this series could be a little different’ Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “You almost have to play perfect to get Doc’s trust,” veteran guard Patrick Beverley said of Coach Doc Rivers. “And even if you do play perfect, it’s still kind of hard.“One thing that’s good for him in a sophomore season is that he’s learning. He’s on a team with Doc Rivers as head coach, where he’s learning how to play the game of basketball the right way. That’s bigger than any type of playing time, any type of experience at all – playing the right way.”Said Rivers of Robinson: “He’s transformed himself into a better defensive player. He’s come into a couple of games and turned it around with his defensive energy. His shot has been inconsistent, but he can do other things than just shoot the ball.”On Wednesday, Robinson recorded five rebounds, four assists, a blocked shot, and although he went 1 for 5 from the field and clanged a couple of shots from behind the arc, the shot he sank came when he stepped confidently into a 3-pointer.“When I was like 19½, people were like, ‘He should go back to Europe,’” said Ivica Zubac, now the Clippers’ 22-year-old starting center. “People are impatient. And some guys take longer than others – and I’m not saying that’s the case with Jerome – but we’ve got to understand his role. It’s hard when you’re a young player, second year, to not play for like 10 games and then they throw you in and they want you to do everything perfect. But what Jerome is doing, on defense, he’s been really great.“I wish he’d shoot with some more confidence, but that’ll come,” Zubac continued. “Everyone’s talking to him, telling him, ‘Shoot it. When you’re open, don’t hesitate, don’t think about it, that’s what you do, that’s why you got in the league, you can shoot it!’”Related Articles What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Game 4 photos: Luka Doncic, Mavs shock Clippers in overtime For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory last_img read more