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Taylor Overcomes Jitters in Pro Debut

PRO BASKETBALL / DAILY REPORT : CLIPPERS

October 13, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Rookie forward Maurice Taylor, the Clippers' No. 1 draft pick, said he had stage fright before Saturday's 98-94 exhibition-opening victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies.

"I played pretty good," Taylor said. "I was a little nervous at first, but once I got into the flow of the game I seemed to calm down.

"The pace is so much faster than in the college game. The guys are flying at you."

Taylor made three of seven shots and had nine points, two rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes.

"I thought the longer he was on the floor, the better he got," Coach Bill Fitch said. "We know he's got the body, but he's got to learn to zero in and pay a little bit more attention from here on out. That's what it's all about."

*

Forward Lamond Murray, who seemed to alienate Fitch in his first three seasons with the Clippers, didn't get off to a good start against the Grizzlies.

Murray, who started in place of Rodney Rogers (sore back], couldn't contain Vancouver forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who made four of his first six shots and outscored Murray, 14-2, in the first quarter.

But Murray did a better job of checking Abdur-Rahim, who finished with 32 points, in the final three quarters.

Murray, who averaged a career-low 7.4 points last season, made four of 12 shots and had 10 points and three rebounds.

"Lamond played well," Fitch said. "He got into a rut where he was rushing everything and his game went down."

*

The Clippers open a four-game, six-day exhibition trip against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at the Rose Garden.

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