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Playoffs Are Unlikely but Goals Remain

April 02, 2002|Elliott Teaford

The Clippers' playoff chances have dwindled to next to nothing, but they have other goals to reach before they put 2001-02 to rest.

A winning record, the first in a decade is still possible. They are 37-37 with eight games to play.

"Obviously, it hasn't happened a lot," Coach Alvin Gentry said.

The Clippers were 41-41 in 1992-93, technically not a winning mark, but close enough. They also were 45-37 in 1991-92.

And that's it for .500 records since the franchise relocated to Los Angeles from San Diego before the 1984-85 season.

The Clippers also can become the first team since the Houston Rockets to go from 15 victories to 40 or more in two seasons, according to Gentry.

In fact, the Rockets won 14 games in 1982-83, improved to 29-53 the next season and to 48-34 during the first season Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson were teamed together.

The Clippers won 15 games in 1999-2000, then 31 in Gentry's first season as coach--the league's best improvement in 2000-01.

"We've still got a lot of positive things we can accomplish," Gentry said. "We're still going to play as if we're in the playoff chase because we are. We're going to approach every game as if it were the seventh game of the playoffs. Let's not kid ourselves, we're an absolute longshot to make the playoffs now."

Gentry indicated he would not alter his rotation in the final eight games, except perhaps to give Corey Maggette minutes.

For now, Tremaine Fowlkes will continue to start at small forward, with Maggette coming into the game as a reserve.

Maggette was sidelined more than a month because of two dislocated bones in his right hand, suffered when he punched the scorer's table in anger during a Feb. 21 loss against the Orlando Magic.

He also underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during his layoff.


Reserves Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson have no plans to rest nagging injuries down the stretch.

Miles continues to be troubled by a sore left knee and did not practice Monday.

He is expected to play Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.

Richardson has tendinitis in his left foot. He practiced Monday and will play Wednesday.

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