Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Pro Basketball | CLIPPER REPORT

Nowitzki Makes a Tough Match

January 27, 2002|Elliott Teaford

One game after putting Lamar Odom on the injured list because of a sprained right wrist, the Clippers faced a serious matchup problem Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Coach Alvin Gentry could have put Odom on Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, a 7-foot forward every bit as versatile as the 6-10 Odom. But Gentry was forced to start with Elton Brand, a power forward, on Nowitzki.

Gentry also suggested before the game that he would try different combinations against the Mavericks, who aren't an easy team to match from start to finish. Nowitzki, averaging a team-leading 24.5 points going into the game, is perhaps the toughest to contain.

"Everyone wants to compare him to Larry Bird," Gentry said. "I think he's closer to Rick Barry. He's quicker than Bird. He's more athletic than Bird. He makes passes off the dribble better than Bird.

"Last year, of all the teams we played, we just weren't close to beating them," Gentry said of the Mavericks, who won all four games last season against the Clippers. "I don't know if it was matchups or what."

*

The starters for the All-Star game Feb. 10 in Philadelphia were announced Saturday and Brand was not among those picked for the Western Conference team. Gentry has been campaigning for Brand in recent days.

"I would be very disappointed if he's not on the team," Gentry said of Brand, averaging 18.7 points and 11.3 rebounds. Last week, Gentry said, "something's not right" if Brand wasn't on the team.

*

Elliott Teaford

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|