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Pro Basketball | CLIPPER REPORT

It's Safe to Say Gentry Is Beyond Frustrated

January 02, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

Having landed in last place in the Pacific Division, the slumping Clippers left Wednesday for a two-game trip tonight against the league-leading Dallas Mavericks and Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

"It's such a mystery to me," Coach Alvin Gentry said after the Clippers hit bottom in Tuesday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. "It appears we're two different teams. Teams make a run at us and we seem to disintegrate. I am at a loss for words. We can play as well as we did [Tuesday] for 35 or 40 minutes and all of a sudden we can't seem to get the ball in the basket.

"It's been a pattern."

The Clippers let a double-digit lead slip away during a loss Dec. 18 against the Portland Trail Blazers, their four-for-15 shooting in the fourth quarter sending them to a defeat. Their four-for-23 shooting in the third quarter Tuesday against the 76ers set a new standard of futility.

"It's unbelievably frustrating," Gentry said. "The only thing we can do is change the combination of players and see if we can't get things changed. We got great shots [in the third quarter against Philadelphia], shots that got us a 13-point lead. We got wide-open shots from the perimeter. We've got to knock them down."

The Clippers have been without shooting guard Eric Piatkowski since he suffered a lower abdominal strain Dec. 10 and versatile guard Marko Jaric since he sprained his left ankle Friday. And the team's overall shooting has suffered.

The Clippers are 96 for 242 (39.7%), including seven for 42 from behind the three-point arc (16.7%) during recent losses to Philadelphia, the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. The Clippers had been shooting 44% from the field.

"We take the ball to the basket, but we can't get it in," Gentry said. "No matter what we do, we're not going to get it any closer to the basket than we've been getting it."

*

TONIGHT

at Dallas, 5:30 PST, Channel 5

Site -- American Airlines Center.

Radio -- KLAC (570).

Records -- Clippers 12-19, Mavericks 25-5.

Record vs. Mavericks -- 0-1.

Update -- The Mavericks gave the Clippers a 27-point beating Dec. 10 at Dallas. The Clippers have lost three consecutive games for the second time this season.

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