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CLIPPER REPORT

At Least One Area Is Better

December 02, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

If nothing else, the Clippers have shot free throws well.

Although only the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets had shot worse from the field than the Clippers' 40.4% before Monday night's games, only the New York Knicks had shot better than the Clippers' 81.9% from the line.

Three Clippers ranked among the league's top 40 in free-throw percentage -- Bobby Simmons at 86.7%, Corey Maggette at 85.3% and Predrag Drobnjak at 84% -- and only Melvin Ely had made less than 70% of his foul shots.

It's no accident the Clippers have improved upon last season's 75% mark from the line, when they ranked 16th among 29 teams.

Coach Mike Dunleavy has emphasized free-throw shooting from the opening of training camp, when each player was first required to shoot 100 foul shots at the end of every practice. He filmed players' mechanics and tweaked where necessary. He brought in a free-throw coach, Gary Boren, who works for the Dallas Mavericks, who have led the league in free-throw percentage the last two seasons.

*

Elton Brand, sidelined since opening night because of a broken right foot, will have X-rays taken on the foot this morning and expects to be cleared to practice today. He hopes to play next week.

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