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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers' DeAndre Jordan remains a starter, but coach wants changes

Vinny Del Negro says he wants more consistent energy and effort from center, but he is not going to switch to Chris Kaman, who had a double-double against Charlotte.

March 08, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers center DeAndre Jordan may still be in the starting lineup, but Coach Vinny Del Negro wants to see more consistency from his starting center.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan may still be in the starting lineup, but… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S.…)

Reporting from Boston — The disparity in the scoring output between Clippers centers Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan, in the opener of this five-game trip, would suggest that a change was coming in the starting lineup.

Not quite.

Or, not yet.

On Monday at Charlotte, Kaman came off the bench for his third double-double of the season, and Jordan, the starter, was scoreless. But Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said there would not be a tweaking of his starting lineup in Wednesday's game here against the Celtics.

"Not right now," Del Negro said after practice Tuesday afternoon. "DJ has got to be more consistent with his energy, his effort, his approach to things. When he does that, he makes a big difference for us.

"We've talked about that. But he's got to understand his role: defense, rebounds, set screens, run the floor, do the things he's more than capable of doing physically. Chris gives us a different look."

Kaman has been coming off the bench since returning from his long-term ankle injury, rejoining the Clippers on Feb..16 and playing nine games without any flare-ups. His playing time increased to 30-plus minutes in the win against the Bobcats.

Jordan landed in early foul trouble and played a scant 4:20 in the second half, getting a technical early in the third quarter. His play has ranged from wildly impressive — 16 rebounds and eight points against Houston last week — to strangely passive.

Del Negro said the issue was not the technical against the Bobcats but the way Jordan was playing and the flow of the game.

Kaman's double-double — 16 points and 10 rebounds — was his first since returning to the lineup following his injury. He has scored in double figures six of the nine games since coming back.

"It's been good. He got winded a little bit [Monday] night," Del Negro said. "His rib was bothering him a little bit. He got hit. He opens the floor for us. You have to guard him because he can shoot. He's still working his way back because he was out so long. It's going to take him awhile."

Kaman realizes he is better on the floor when he is patient. That's the way he is approaching the starter/reserve issue.

"Whether it happens this year or not — with my minute restrictions, all that kind of stuff — it's up to Vinny," he said. "I think I definitely am a starter in this league. On any team, around the league. I think I've proved that."

Pausing, he revised that … slightly.

"There are some teams obviously with solid players where I wouldn't be able to start on," Kaman said. "But the majority of teams, I think I would be a starter. I really haven't had the chance to prove that much this year. We'll see.

"We've got 18 games left. So we'll see. I just want to be patient. I want to take my time and play the right way … and I want to make this team successful.

"It's been awhile since we've had success in L.A. with the Clippers. I think we're moving in the right direction."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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