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Piatkowski Will Start at Shooting Guard

CLIPPER REPORT

November 03, 2002|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

Eric Piatkowski will return to the starting lineup as the Clipper shooting guard today against the Detroit Pistons. Quentin Richardson will move into a reserve role.

That's the way the Clippers played it last season, when Piatkowski got them rolling with accurate outside shooting and Richardson gave them a boost whenever he entered the game.

"It's not a major change," Coach Alvin Gentry said after Saturday's practice at Los Angeles Southwest College, wishing to make it clear the team's 0-2 start to the season shouldn't be blamed on a lack of production at the shooting guard spot.

Piatkowski and Richardson said the change was fine with them. Neither had a good game in the Clippers' loss Friday against the Lakers. Piatkowski scored seven points in 12 minutes. Richardson had 10 points on two-for-eight shooting in 20 minutes. Marko Jaric, another guard, did not score in 26 minutes.

"Mentally, the most important thing is knowing you're going to get a certain amount of minutes," Piatkowski said. "You're going to play the first quarter and the third quarter and if you're having a good game, you'll play some in the fourth. When you're coming off the bench it's tough. You're always asking yourself, 'When am I going to go in? When am I going to go in?' In certain situations, you might not get in the game at all."

Said Richardson: "Coach had told me in the summer I had definitely earned the position. He also told me this isn't about whether I'm better than Pike or whether Pike is better than me. [Gentry] feels he needs something off the bench. He feels I'm best coming off the bench. I don't care as long as we win."

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Gentry on the Clippers' slow start: "We're not 0-25. There's no reason to panic. We're 0-2. We had a tough start the first year I was here. We didn't get off to a good start last year. We're a long way from panicking."

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TODAY

vs. Detroit, 12:30 p.m., Channel 5

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KXTA (1150).

Records -- Clippers 0-2, Pistons 2-0.

Record vs. Pistons (2001-02) -- 1-1.

Update -- Power forward Elton Brand had 19 points on eight-for-15 shooting and 12 rebounds against the Lakers after failing to score and missing all six shots Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tickets -- (800) 462-2849.

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