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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers’ Chris Kaman is very frustrated

He makes three of 15 shots against the Hornets, the worst of a five-game run.

March 16, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

The premise was that bad individual performances happened to be a fact of life during the treadmill of an 82-game NBA schedule.

But, if spaced out judiciously, not quite as noticeable.

The Clippers' Chris Kaman didn't let that thought quite get finished. "I've had a nice bunch of them," he said, ruefully.

One of the low points was Monday night. Kaman went three for 15 from the field for eight points in an eight-point loss to the Hornets. With each miss, most of them banging off the rim, his frustration level kept rising.

And there was some residue at practice Tuesday.

"Clearly when he's gone to the point that he's fried, you've got to take him out. You still have to run plays for him, work out his kinks with him," said Clippers interim Coach Kim Hughes. "Get him some touches because he couldn't make any shots at the start of practice, but the second half of practice, he started making some shots.

"He's one of those guys who doesn't need criticism. He's bashing himself twice as hard as he should be and no one feels worse than he does."

That was confirmed a few minutes later.

"I've had some bad games the last five games – I'm not doing it on purpose, I'm really not," Kaman said.

The bright shine of his All-Star season has dulled in his mind during this eight-game losing streak. He is still averaging 18.8 points and 9.1 rebounds this season. But his scoring average has dropped to 11 points over the last five games.

Kaman talked about the difficulty of the many changes in the Clipper world: the coaching switch from Mike Dunleavy to Hughes in early February and the loss of his running mate, the rebounding machine, Marcus Camby, who was traded to Portland.

Which has meant increased defensive responsibilities for Kaman and the loss of instant chemistry up front.

"It's tough. My minutes are really inconsistent," Kaman said. "I'll start the game and they'll take me out with six, seven minutes to go. I'll go in for a little bit in the second quarter. I don't really feel like I can get into a rhythm. It's kind of tough –the coaching change.

"I like Kim. We've had our differences the past few weeks about different issues. But ultimately he's a good guy and I like him. It's just been a little different."

It seemed rather odd considering Hughes has worked more closely with Kaman than anyone else during his Clippers' career.

Has Kaman broached some of his concerns to Hughes?

"I want him to be able to do what he's supposed to be doing and not get in the way of his thing, because, obviously, our season is over as far as the playoffs go," Kaman said.

"It's a long year. It makes it a longer season and it wears on you. I don't know what the deal is with minutes here and there. I don't want to make him over-think stuff. I want him to be able to do his job."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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