Reporting from Minneapolis — Marcus Camby saw a reporter approach Chris Kaman inside the Target Center on Thursday afternoon and preempted the first question with one of his own.
"Chris, did you make it?" Camby yelled to his Clippers teammate seated across the floor.
Apprised by Kaman that the center had not been selected as an All-Star reserve, Camby uttered an expletive and told Kaman he had been robbed.
Kaman seemed resigned to his fate -- All-Star reserves were announced Thursday -- saying his case for selection by Western Conference coaches was hurt by the Clippers' sub-.500 record.
"I just obviously didn't get enough respect to make it, and I can't really control that," Kaman said. "So now I have to move forward and try to help my team get some more wins and try to be positive about it and just look for the playoff hunt."
Of the three NBA players who average at least 20 points and nine rebounds per game -- Kaman, Memphis' Zach Randolph and Toronto's Chris Bosh -- Kaman is the only one who will not play in the All-Star game. Of course, Kaman is also the only one of the three whose team has a losing record. "It's tough when you're not winning games," Kaman said.
Kaman softened his stance on Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who was selected as an All-Star reserve despite missing 17 games because of injuries. Kaman said last week that he didn't think Gasol "should be in it at all" because he had been sidelined for so long. "I said enough there, I don't need to say any more," Kaman said Thursday. "The Lakers are a great team and Pau's a great player and he's an All-Star player. You can't argue with it."
Once more, with feeling?
The Clippers could be missing a good chunk of their starting lineup tonight when they play the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves.
Three starters are questionable -- Kaman because of a sprained left ankle, Camby because of bruised ribs and point guard Baron Davis because of a sore right knee. All three started the Clippers' 103-87 loss to New Jersey on Wednesday, but only Kaman finished the game.
Camby played the first 6:55 before departing when he hurt his ribs while taking a charge. Davis left early in the fourth quarter after his knee flared up. Kaman suffered his injury when he landed on another player's foot in the third quarter.
Forward Craig Smith said a victory over the Timberwolves could show that the defeat against the lowly Nets was an aberration.
"It gives us an opportunity to show that, hey, it was a fluke and we are better than that," he said. "We can't play down to the level of our opponent, which we did that game, but this time is going to be different."
Running it up?
Smith was visibly upset at the end of the loss to New Jersey, and there was more to it than losing to the worst team in the NBA.
Smith acknowledged Thursday that he voiced his displeasure to the Nets' bench and forward Kris Humphries about scoring baskets in the final minute with a double-digit lead.
"I felt at the end of the game they were trying to embarrass us, laughing and doing things they really weren't supposed to," Smith said. "We were doing traps and they were trying to take advantage of it to get the score run up. I just wanted to tell them, 'Hey, that's not cool.' "