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Patrick Patterson explains what Clippers learned from 'choking' last postseason

Patrick Patterson explains what Clippers learned from 'choking' last postseason

Patrick Patterson opened up on the Los Angeles Clippers' loss to the Denver Nuggets in last season's playoffs, explaining what the team has learned to Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com.

"[We learned] that we've got to be tougher and we've got to accept accountability," Patterson said in the Q&A. "This season, I thought we've been doing a great job of matching teams' toughness, being physical, more often than not, punching the team first and attacking first and striking first rather than countering and trying to battle back.

"Guys accepting that if they're not playing well, if they do something wrong out there on the court, if we go into film, if we're back on the bench and a teammate [is] ripping you and talking to you about it, guys are more accepting and understanding to constructive criticism this year than last, and they're holding themselves accountable," he added. "So I would definitely say accountability [is the] difference from last year to this year. Learning what our mistakes were in the playoffs vs. Denver -- pretty much choking, needless to say -- and taking all that we did last year, bringing that energy, that focus and that hungriness into this season, and just trying to build off of that."

The Clippers enter the 2021 playoffs as the fourth seed with a 47-25 record. They'll face the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch from last year's first round. Patterson expects the same intensity as a year ago.

"Same thing as last year -- physicality, a whole bunch of trash-talking, a whole bunch of complaining to the refs about not getting calls, guys just hungry and aggressive, tough, back-and-forth. You already know Luka is going to be Luka [and] probably try to go out there and carry the team as much as possible, get up 20-plus shots, try to hit some incredible stepback threes and tough floaters and attack the paint to draw and kick to his teammates to his shots as well," he said.

"[Kristaps] Porzingis is healthy. He's looking good. He's still that physical force, a seven-footer who can put it on the floor, space the floor, get your bigs away from the basket, post-up, rebound, dunk -- he does everything. So that team is very solid. [Dwight] Powell is back. I don't think they had him last year, so you know what you're gonna get with him -- someone who's hungry, someone who's attacking the glass, rebounding, speed rolls, alley-oops, just playing tremendously hard every single night. We know Luka's the head of the snake on that team; they go as he goes. He's gonna try his best to win the game for them as much as possible, so we just have to take him out of the equation as best as we can, and offensively, guys [need to] just play the way that they know how to play."

Los Angeles and Dallas square off for Game 1 tomorrow at 4:30 P.M. ET.

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