The Clippers, namely Brian Skinner and Ricky Davis, were teasing 21-year-old Eric Gordon the other day before their game at New Orleans.
Topic: Gordon's youth.
They were talking about breaking into the league in the 1998-99 season and asking Gordon where he was back then.
That was reinforced when Gordon was holding court Friday about his surprise inclusion in the NBA's dunk-in competition.
He said his favorite NBA dunk contest was the one in 2000, the epic involving Vince Carter and Steve Francis.
The only thing -- well, person -- standing between Gordon and the contest happens to be Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozan.
"I'm not gonna lie, the dude is super athletic," Gordon said. "I watched him when he was in college and high school."
The self-effacing Gordon versus the uber-confident DeRozan.
"I don't care if [ Michael] Jordan is in it," DeRozan told Toronto reporters. "Ever since I was in the eighth or ninth grade, every dunk contest I did, I never lose. In the ninth grade, I was in one with Michael Beasley and Gerald Henderson and I won."
Still, Gordon's Clippers teammates were not conceding the win to the dynamic DeRozan, who was playing at USC last season.
They call Gordon "Hobbs," a shortening of his nickname, Hobbit.
"He's got something up his sleeve, man," Al Thornton said. "I'd try to pull out a couple of props, throw in some trickery there. I think Hobbs has something."
Said Sebastian Telfair: "I think dunking is overrated . . . in the game. When he needs to go up over somebody he dunks it. He plays a lot of minutes, so I think that's why he don't dunk as much.
"He'll pull some tricks out of the bag. People want to see something new."
That is the thing with Gordon. He can dunk, but only in certain situations.
"I'm not big on dunking all the time," Gordon said. "But I'm definitely going to surprise people. I'm going to give it a good try.
"I'm going to do something different. I don't know what I'm going to do right now. I've got to think about different things."
Davis had thought there was a chance that second-year Clippers center De- Andre Jordan was going to get the nod.
Nevertheless, Gordon will have no shortage of advice from his teammates.
"Nowadays it's kinda different -- it's got a lot of antics and costumes and that," Davis said.
Anyone have an extra cape?
Just a whole lot of epidurals going on around Clipperland.
Coach Mike Dunleavy had one for his sore back, which he aggravated with a hard sneeze on New Year's Eve.
His mishap forced him to miss the Philadelphia game.
Next up: center Chris Kaman.
Kaman, who injured his back in pregame warmups at Memphis on Tuesday night, had an epidural to ease the pain.
He said it was the third one of his career. How painful was it? "Not bad," said Kaman, who then retreated to the training area.
This was the third straight game Kaman missed after a surprisingly healthy and productive run through the first 2 1/2 months of the season.
There are just about 400 seats remaining for tonight's game against Cleveland, the Clippers said.
They have had three sellouts this season.