For a starting NBA center, Michael Olowokandi's 5.8 rebounding average is nothing to brag about. But the Clippers' third-year big man averages a rebound for every four minutes he plays, which is one reason Coach Alvin Gentry may start playing Olowokandi more late in games.
Failure to grab key defensive rebounds has hurt the Clippers all season and it cost them in Monday's 85-82 loss to Indiana at Staples Center. With Olowokandi on the bench, and the Clippers behind by two, the Pacers were able to pull down two offensive rebounds in the final 90 seconds.
"I thought about [putting Olowokandi] in the game, but they had such a small team in there," Gentry said. "They had [Austin] Croshere and Derrick McKey in there down the stretch and they would have been a tough matchup for him because they would have taken him out on the floor."
Gentry has not blamed the big men for the Clippers' lack of rebounding. Instead, he spreads it around.
"The bottom line is that it is not big guys getting the rebounds," said Gentry, whose team will host Denver tonight at Staples Center. "They are small guys getting in there. . . . It's a total team effort."
vs. Denver, 7:30
* Site--Staples Center.
* Radio--KXTA (1150).
* Records--Clippers 12-24, Nuggets 20-15.
* Record vs. Nuggets--0-2.
* Update--The Clippers suffered one of their more disappointing losses the last time they played Denver, blowing a seven-point lead in the final 3:21 and losing by a point Dec. 26. The Nuggets have beaten the Clippers twice this season, both times at Pepsi Center, and have won eight of their last nine meetings.
* Tickets--(800) 462-2849