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Clippers' Chris Kaman has a solid return

Center plays for the first time since Dec. 5 after being sidelined because of an ankle injury and has four points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in nine minutes.

February 16, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Minnesota guard Martell Webster crashes down on top of Clippers center Chris Kaman during the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 98-90 victory Wednesday.
Minnesota guard Martell Webster crashes down on top of Clippers center… (Jeff Wheeler / MCT )

Reporting from Minneapolis — Considering all of it — the rust and rest — Chris Kaman played well defensively in his first game since Dec. 5.

Kaman, who had been out because of an injured left ankle, played nine minutes and had four points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in the Clippers' 98-90 victory against Minnesota on Wednesday.

"I just wanted to come out, be patient, take my time," Kaman said. "I rushed a couple of shots but other than that, I was pretty patient and careful to make the right moves, the right plays. Not take any gambles. I just tried to use my minutes wisely. … I've always been a decent rebounder. I just tried to do that again. A lot of times when teams don't make shots, there's a lot rebounds out there."

He said that his foot was a little sore afterward, but he expected it to be the case. Kaman knows his minutes will be limited for a spell and that they will gradually increase.

"I thought he was good defensively," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He can always shoot the ball, but I thought his defense was good. Did a nice job for us. It gives you a big boost."

Said Baron Davis: "I love playing with Chris. He's a huge threat out there when he's out there on the floor because of the way he shoots the ball. He pretty much came out there on fire. For him, the good thing about him being out, he has a different mentality and a different mind-set. He's very vocal and that's what we need."

Defense shines

What was encouraging for the Clippers against Minnesota was their defensive improvement. The Timberwolves shot 35% from the field.

"We finally just came together and realized that, in desperation, we can get out and defend," Davis said. "We did it for a good stretch of the third quarter and that's what we've been able to do while we are at home.

"That third quarter really started a lockdown on the perimeter, forcing them into tough shots and having a lead going into the fourth. Then in the fourth we just really let our defense being the catalyst."

On the mend

Del Negro said that shooting guard Eric Gordon, who has been out because of an injured right wrist, would be re-evaluated by doctors Monday. Craig Smith has been cleared to resume practicing and will do so after the All-Star break.

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