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Skinner Gears Up for Malone

October 31, 2000|LONNIE WHITE

SALT LAKE CITY — Over the years, Utah power forward Karl Malone has simply destroyed the Clippers and last season was no different. In leading the Jazz to a four-game season series sweep, Malone averaged 27.3 points and nearly eight rebounds against the Clippers, who have not won at Utah since April 18, 1989.

Tonight, third-year forward Brian Skinner will get his chance to try to slow down Malone when the Clippers open the regular season against the Jazz.

"It's going to be another day at the office," said Skinner, who started nine games last season before being sidelined because of a severe left ankle injury. "He's a great player and there's no way around it, you have to play him."

Skinner, who averaged 5.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 33 games last season, has watched extensive tape of Malone in preparation for the Clippers' season opener.

"I want to know what his likes and dislikes are. Obviously, he's a very physical player and smart player. He's been in the league a long, long, long time. I just have to go out there and get it done."

Coach Alvin Gentry plans to give Skinner plenty of help, starting with backup power forward Derek Strong and veteran big man Sean Rooks.

"He's averaged 26 points over his whole career, so obviously, there has not been a whole lot of people that have done a great job on him," Gentry said about Malone.

"We'll send a bunch of guys in there and see what we can do . . . [Malone] is going to have a great game . . . he always does against most of the teams he plays. What we have to do is do a good job on the other guys, their supporting cast. That's the important thing about Utah."


Veteran shooting guard Eric Piatkowski did not play in any exhibition games because of a left knee injury, but he will be available for tonight's game after the Clippers placed power forward Zendon Hamilton (back spasms) and point guard Earl Boykins (bruised fibula) on the injured list Monday.

Piatkowski, who had surgery for damaged cartilage in his knee on Sept. 27, has been practicing with the team for the last week and said he is ready to play.

"We'll just have to see because he has not played in any games or anything," Gentry said about Piatkowski's expected role against the Jazz. "We just have to see if we can find minutes somewhere. . . . It's hard because he hasn't played in any games and he has only practiced a few days where he could do everything."


Rookie Darius Miles was only 7 the last time the Clippers won at Utah, and tonight he'll face two players--the Jazz's John Stockton and Malone--who played in that game.

Miles, however, said he will not be in awe playing in his first NBA regular-season game.

"It's just another game . . . I went into every game in the preseason with a serious attitude," said Miles, who will jump center for the opening tip-off tonight. "I have to go at them, and they have to go at me."


at Utah, 6 PST

* TV--Fox Sports Net 2.

* Site--Delta Center.

* Radio--KXTA (1150).

* Records (1999-2000)--Clippers 15-67, Jazz 55-27.

* Record vs. Jazz (1999-2000)--0-4.

* Update--The Clippers' starting lineup is expected to include center Michael Olowokandi, forwards Lamar Odom and Skinner and guards Jeff McInnis and Miles. Utah, which has added Danny Manning, Donyell Marshall and John Starks, has never lost to the Clippers at Delta Center in 18 games. The last time the Clippers won at Utah, the Jazz played home games at the Salt Palace.

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