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CLIPPER NOTES

Rookies Impress and Make the Offense Less Predictable

October 27, 2000|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ready or not, the Clippers will play their final exhibition game tonight, facing the Seattle SuperSonics at Staples Center. For rookies Darius Miles, Keyon Dooling and Quentin Richardson, it will be the final dress rehearsal before the Clippers' regular-season opener at Utah on Tuesday.

Second-year swingman Corey Maggette said the team's rookies have improved greatly during training camp.

"The great thing about them is that they work so hard," Maggette said. "Even though Q [Richardson] has had some nagging injuries, you can see how hard he works. Darius has really been playing well and doing what was expected of him and now that Keyon has started to play, you can see he has great skills and a good feel of what's going on on the court.

"You can tell they have the ability to average double figures in scoring in this league. They may not do that this season but whatever they do is going to be good."

Lamar Odom credits the addition of Miles, Richardson and Dooling, as well as Maggette, for opening up the Clippers' offense, which relied so heavily on Maurice Taylor and Derek Anderson last season.

"Teams basically try and play straight-up basketball," Odom said. "But you're going to have to play us that way because if they don't, we are going to be able to take advantage.

"We'll have better ball movement all around, that's why it won't be so stagnant."

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For free agents Zendon Hamilton and Earl Boykins, tonight's game against Seattle may determine whether they make the Clippers' 12-man roster.

Hamilton's stock improved when the Clippers released power forward Etdrick Bohannon on Wednesday. And with Keith Closs suspended for conditioning reasons, Hamilton, a 6-foot-10 former standout at St. John's, has a chance to stick as the team's third center, behind Michael Olowokandi and Sean Rooks.

The Clippers have had problems rebounding, which happens to be Hamilton's strength. But Hamilton knows he has to do more to help his cause.

"Any time I can impress or show that I belong, that's what I have to do," he said. "I've played all right in the time that I've had and [Coach Alvin Gentry] has given me plenty of opportunity. I have to get my teammates open a little more by setting good picks. . . . And, of course get any rebound I can get."

*

With shooting guard Eric Piatkowski back at practice after missing a month for knee surgery, the Clippers are in decent shape. Dooling suffered a thigh bruise Thursday but is expected to be available for tonight's game. . . . The Clippers will hold an open scrimmage Saturday at Staples Center, starting at noon.

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