Because of his three-point shooting ability, Eric Piatkowski was known as the "Polish Rifle" when he joined the Clippers as a rookie in 1994.
Seven seasons later, Piatkowski is still dangerous from long range, but he has become more than just a three-point specialist. As one of the Clipper veterans, Piatkowski is having his best season.
"The thing now is that I am not so much worried about taking three's," said Piatkowski, who has made 26 of his last 54 three-point shot. "Because Coach [Alvin Gentry] is running picks for me, I'm getting so much of my scoring on 15 to 17-foot jumpers.
"When I'm having a well rounded game, I feel so much better about myself. That's when I'm contributing in a bunch of different areas and making it difficult to guard me. I'm at my best when I can pick and choose."
Since being moved into the starting lineup in mid-January, Piatkowski has been averaging 13.4 points, including a season-high 30 points against Seattle on Jan. 24. His shooting has helped open things up for the offense.
"He gives us an offensive threat . . . and opens up alleys for everyone else," Gentry said. "We can stand him in the parking lot or at Fatburger and they will guard him over there. That opens up the lane for Lamar [Odom] and other guys to get to the basket."
With a team-leading 90 three-point baskets, Piatkowski is on pace to establish a personal best. His previous high was 106, set in 1997-98. The team record is 139 by Terry Dehere in 1995-96.
Including Friday's game, the Clippers have had six capacity crowds this season at Staples Center--the most sellouts since the team had six in 1996-97.