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CLIPPERS NOTES

Bench Production Is a Bright Spot

April 02, 2001|LONNIE WHITE

Early in the season, when playing time and roles still were uncertain, the Clippers didn't always get great bench production. One night, the Clipper reserves would play well, the next night, they would play as if they were auditioning for a starting job.

That's not a problem any more. Ever since Coach Alvin Gentry settled on a starting lineup of guards Jeff McInnis and Eric Piatkowski, forwards Cherokee Parks and Lamar Odom and center Michael Olowokandi, the Clipper bench has been a dominant force.

"We have guys stepping up every night," said Parks, who averages 17.6 minutes a game, which is less than four non-starters. "We really don't have a bench because any one of our players can be starting or can play as a reserve. I know I like coming off the bench more than starting. Corey [Maggette] has started but he will also come off the bench. Darius [Miles] loves coming off the bench. Even Brian [Skinner] and Derek Strong have started and can play.

"Any guy on the team is ready to step up and give you 20 points at any time. It's exciting to be on a team like this."

The Clipper bench has scored 37 points a game, which leads the league as it has outscored their opposition's reserves by 11 points a game. In 54 of the Clippers' 74 games this season, their bench has outscored their opponents' reserves.

For Gentry, having so many players who can produce also can be a problem.

"It doesn't surprise me when we get great production [from our bench] but sometimes, it is unfortunate because we have other guys who can play," Gentry said. "For example, I wish I can find more minutes for Quentin Richardson because I think he can help us when he is out on the floor."

*

The Clippers, 14-14 since Feb. 1, do not play again until Wednesday when they face the Grizzlies at Vancouver.

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