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CLIPPER REPORT

Late-Game Troubles Haunting

November 28, 2002|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

Coach Alvin Gentry watched a videotape of the Clippers' 99-94 loss Tuesday to the Utah Jazz four times before the team re-grouped Wednesday morning for its practice at Los Angeles Southwest College.

What stood out, troubling Gentry most, was the Clippers' inability to make shots during crunch time. They missed point-blank shots and free throws while getting outscored, 15-4, in the final 3 1/2 minutes.

"It's not like we're losing by 25 points or playing bad ball except for the Portland and Orlando games," he said, referring to 20-point-plus losses. "We just haven't made plays down the stretch. We're getting good shots. We're getting to the foul line."

Gentry rejected the notion that the Clippers lack a go-to player capable of leading the team to victory. He also said the team is not in the throes of an identity crisis because of injuries to Lamar Odom and Corey Maggette.

"I think when you're out there at the end of the game, if you've got the ball, you're the go-to guy," Gentry said.

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Gentry offered this advice to Andre Miller, whistled twice late in the last two games for stepping over the free-throw line on his attempts: stand still.

"I said to Andre, 'If they're going to call it, you're going to have to adjust,' " said Gentry, who couldn't resist a critical comment about the timing of such calls. "He doesn't shoot them any different in the first quarter than he does in the fourth quarter. It's strange to me that the violation comes at the end of the game."

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Backup forwards Melvin Ely and Cherokee Parks might play for the first time this season tonight against the New Jersey Nets. Ely has had a sprained left foot. Parks simply hasn't played.

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TONIGHT

vs. New Jersey, 7, TNT

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KXTA (1150), KTNQ (1020, Spanish).

Records -- Clippers 5-10, Nets 10-5.

Record vs. Nets -- 0-1.

Update -- The Clippers have lost five in a row to the Nets.

Tickets -- (800) 462-2849.

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