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CLIPPER REPORT

Dunleavy Must Alter His Plan

November 08, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

DENVER — In the fourth stop of his NBA coaching career, Mike Dunleavy relies on a different mind-set with the forever-rebuilding Clippers than he did with the Lakers or, in his last stop, with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"You have to," he said before Friday night's overtime victory over the Nuggets in the Pepsi Center. "You've got to switch modes. From the Lakers' standpoint, from Portland's standpoint, it's pretty much right away. You've got teams that are playoff teams and your job is to get as deep as you can into the playoffs.

"Right now, we're younger, trying to teach guys how to play the right way, trying to get to the playoffs. That's way down the line. I don't think we should even be thinking about [the playoffs] -- just be thinking about, 'Hey, one game at a time,' and playing good and trying to get ourselves into a good groove.

"You've got to understand who we are now, with Elton [Brand] out, how we're going to have to take teams on. We've got to play for every point. Every possession is a major possession."

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Glen Rice has not resumed practicing after suffering a hyperextended right knee Oct. 17 that was expected to sideline him for two weeks.

"At least another week away," Dunleavy said of the reserve swingman. "We'll see, once he's able to start practicing, how long it takes him to get into shape."

Rice is eligible to come off the injured list Nov. 15.

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