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Second Team Wants to Run

April 23, 2006|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Bench production sometimes provides the difference in the playoffs, and that's fine with the Clippers.

The team's second unit is experienced, deep and versatile. Coach Mike Dunleavy has relied on the group in key situations and said he expected that will continue in a first-round series against the Denver Nuggets.

Corey Maggette, who had eight points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes Saturday, said he would be ready to help.

"The biggest thing right now, especially as we get started in the series, is that we bring that energy off the bench every time," Maggette said before Game 1 at Staples Center.

"We have a lot of firepower with the starters, Elton [Brand], [Chris] Kaman, Sam [Cassell] and Cuttino [Mobley] are the guys who are really filling it up for our team. And, of course, me.

"My job now, coming off the bench, is to bring that same intensity. That's what I have to do, just go out there and do the things that I do."

Maggette, sidelined for seven of the team's final eight games because of a herniated disk, was ready for the Clippers to push the tempo when he and backup point guard Shaun Livingston were on the floor together, as they had in the regular-season road finale.

Teams increase their effort on defense in the postseason, reducing fastbreak opportunities, but Maggette said the second unit planned to apply as much pressure as possible.

"It starts with Shaun," he said. "Shaun is the leader when he comes in, he's the general on the floor, and he knows that he needs to get me involved.

"He always says to me when we're getting off the bench, 'Hey, bro, let's run.' "


Quinton Ross, slowed throughout the season because of a herniated disk, said he had not experienced pain recently.

"As far as the injury goes, my back feels fine," he said. "It's probably the best I've felt in a long time."

That's good news for the Clippers, because they're relying on Ross to perform well while guarding Denver's Carmelo Anthony.

Dunleavy has limited Ross, the team's top perimeter defender, to 25 minutes because of back problems. Ross, who didn't score, played 24 minutes Saturday. There are no games scheduled on consecutive days in the series, so Ross said he would be capable of playing 30 minutes a game.

"It's going to be a real physical series," Ross said. "Hopefully, as the series progresses, I'll hold up and be OK."


Three-point specialist Vladimir Radmanovic struggled with his shot at the end of the season because of a groin injury. Radmanovic did not play or practice for five days.

"It helped a lot," Radmanovic said before getting five points and five rebounds Saturday. "It's a big difference."

Radmanovic had an X-ray on his right wrist after the game. Results were negative.

Brand also had an X-ray on his right ankle, with negative results.


As of Saturday, only 400 tickets remained for Game 2 on Monday, a Clipper spokesman said.

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