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Clippers' Chris Kaman is keeping good early signs in perspective

Clippers show promise in exhibition games, but the veteran urges restraint even as he remains cautiously optimistic about the team's chances this season.

October 14, 2009|Lisa Dillman

When so little went right -- as it did for the Clippers and their fans last season -- the temptation is to go overboard when there are the slightest signs of promise.

The incumbent Chris Kaman, veteran of those flickers, urged caution after back-to-back exhibition wins and a fresh air of hope in Clippers' training camp.

It took one word to get that thought across: Fresno.

"Don't read into it so much," Kaman said Tuesday after practice. "It's basketball. See how it goes. It happened last year. We beat the Lakers in the preseason up in Fresno."

In fact, it was Oct. 9 of last year when the Clippers crushed the Lakers in Fresno, 107-80, in their exhibition opener. And you know the injury-marred rest of the story.

Kaman had a funny riff on Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.

"I think that's one of Phil Jackson's ploys," he said. "When we played them first [in the regular-season opener], he wanted us to go into the game thinking we were going to kill them again. And we got killed."

The Clippers again play the Lakers in their regular-season opener, on Oct. 27.

Still, having urged restraint, Kaman does sound optimistic, not only about his own game but his teammates, offering pertinent observations on point guard Baron Davis, who is in his second season with the Clippers, and swingman Rasual Butler, a newcomer.

"Baron's playing a lot better," Kaman said. "He's leading the team better. And he's being more and more of a leader than he was last year. He's being patient. He's not overdoing it, overthinking it.

"We don't need him to score 25 points and that was hard for him going from Golden State, scoring all the points and coming in here. We have such an even team across the board -- so many guys -- everybody can score."

As for Butler, he is finally getting the chance to show all of his weapons, Kaman said.

"When you play with Chris Paul, I don't think you have a whole lot else you need to do," he said. "Just go to the corner and wait, Chris Paul will find you. You don't need to do anything else with a guy like that.

"He's really shown some aspects of his game that you've never seen before. I think he's still getting used to us as well because he's not used to doing that the last few years. He has a great opportunity to show what he's capable of doing."


Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said that backup point guard Sebastian Telfair (right hamstring) would not play tonight against the host San Antonio Spurs, meaning no night off yet for Davis and more time at that position for Eric Gordon. . . . Speaking of Gordon, the Clippers exercised their third-year option on him, and also exercised their fourth-year option on Al Thornton. . . . . The Clippers promoted Raman Sposato to assistant coach/video coordinator.


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