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NBA PREVIEW / CLIPPERS FYI

Baron Davis has a reason to play

October 28, 2008|Lisa Dillman | Dillman is a Times staff writer.

Sometimes you have to look at the unscientific, non-medical evidence to figure out what is going on.

Or, what may be going on.

Consider the question of whether Clippers point guard Baron Davis is playing against the Lakers on Wednesday. There might be another way to assess his chances of making the season opener.

It has to do with his beloved grandmother Lela Nicholson.

"She's going to come to the Laker game," Davis said Monday after practice. "She likes to sit on the floor and mingle, and tell people I'm her boy. She loves it."

Sounds as if he'll be playing.

Davis, hampered by his sprained left ring finger, took a step in the right direction Monday.

He was finally able to handle some contact in practice, along with Tim Thomas, who has been sidelined because of a strained groin. That was an improvement from Sunday's session.

Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said they were not limited in what they could do Monday.

"I've said I thought they both would play," Dunleavy said of Wednesday's game. "Marcus [Camby] was the only one I still don't know about. He [Camby] did more stuff today, but he was on the court a little bit. He put some weight on it and was doing some things. He just had a small dose of moving and shooting."

Said Davis: "It's just sore, more so than anything. Just continuing to get some work and treatment to treat the swelling."

He was, however, in a good mood and joked about making the official decision today.

"You'll be the first to know," Davis said.

Not quite.

"Well, actually, you'll be the 100th," he said, smiling.

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Whoa, Nellie

Much has been made about the stylistic differences between Dunleavy and Davis' previous coach at Golden State, Don Nelson, he of the looser ship and longer leash.

Davis has spoken about it. And so has former Clipper Corey Maggette of the Warriors (no Dunleavy fan) who essentially traded places with Davis. On media day, Maggette said Davis would be in for a rude awakening here.

Now it was Dunleavy's turn to talk.

"Baron can play any kind of style, period," Dunleavy said. "And Nellie, I played for Nellie. A lot of what I'm doing is the way Nellie started out. It depends on your personnel.

"When you don't have guys that can post up and score -- it's a bit harder to find -- it's easier to go get guys to push and run. You get enough of those good shooters together, you can win. But the interesting thing is no team has ever won. No team has ever won at all with that kind of team.

"Nobody has ever won a championship with that type of team. You can be entertaining, get to the playoffs. It depends on what you're looking for. It's a place to start."

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Long odds

The gambling website betEd.com pegs the Boston Celtics (+300) and the Lakers (+325) as the favorites to win the NBA title this season, with the Clippers one of the true long shots at +7000 -- the money line means that each $100 bet pays $300 if the Celtics win, or $325 for the Lakers, and a whopping $7,000 if the Clippers win the championship in June.

The site also posts the team odds to win the Western Conference championship: Lakers +150, Clippers +4500.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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