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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers can glimpse future and like what they see

With a 12-40 record, this season looks like a lost cause. But the return of key players from injury provides hints of what they could look like next season.

February 11, 2009|Lisa Dillman

The science lab, Clippers style, is now open for business.

With a mere 12 wins in 52 games, well, that's the way it's going to be from now through April 15, which is the final game of the season.

Glimpses of the upside have been few and far between. Take the Clippers' just-completed seven-game trip: It started with four losses and ended with another Monday. In between were two blowout victories, at Memphis and Atlanta.

Hints of promise?

"We saw what we could be, what we potentially could be," Baron Davis said Tuesday at practice. "There were some glimmers. If you think about it, toward the end of the trip we started to figure it out. Me and Z-Bo [Zach Randolph] started again and it's getting guys back into the normal positions and getting guys back and healthy."

Coach Mike Dunleavy also saw positives before the trip ended with a clunker in Charlotte.

"We really kind of jumped out there and did some things we wanted to do," he said. "Obviously I was disappointed with last night. I really felt we could get that third win and really give us some momentum."

If things go well, the second half could be a preview of next season.

"It's coming along," Davis said. "We've never really had a good solid 20 games together. This second half of the season will be a good test for us . . . a glimpse of what we can be for next year."

Injury update

The injury list essentially has been reduced to three players: Chris Kaman, Mike Taylor and Mardy Collins. Kaman (strained arch) has been out the longest and he'll probably be the last to return. The Clippers had hoped he would come back just after the All-Star break but now it appears Kaman won't return until after the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

This would appear to seriously reduce the chance of Kaman's getting traded despite ongoing rumors.

Collins (strained left calf) and Taylor (broken right thumb) are expected back after the All-Star break. Taylor had his cast removed the first week of February and was finally able to test himself in drills after practice Tuesday, under limited circumstances.

Reality TV

Wonder if tonight will be one of those games when Dunleavy receives a technical?

It could make for compelling television.

Sara Takata, producer of Clippers telecasts on Prime Ticket, had the idea of miking Dunleavy during a game. He thought about it and then quickly agreed.

These things are more complicated than you might think. The NBA has to sign off on it. Of course the Clippers have to go along with the program, and they've been open to experiments of this ilk, such as earlier in the season when Takata used a 30-second clip of Dunleavy speaking in the locker room before a game.

Anyway, Dunleavy agreed to be miked -- just for the first half against the Knicks.

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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