Changes Seem Pointless as Clippers Lose Again

Times Staff Writer

Coach Gene Shue hopes that one day his Clippers will be considered among the best in the National Basketball Assn.

Shue hopes that one day his club will go on winning streaks, instead of losing streaks.

Shue hopes that one day he'll have a team with a productive offense.

The reality, however, is that Shue has a mediocre basketball team, which extended its latest losing streak to three games with a 99-87 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Monday night at the Sports Arena.

"I repeat myself over and over, but offense is a real problem for my team. We just don't score enough points," Shue said after his club lost for the 14th time in its last 15 games. "The bottom line is that we just don't have enough firepower to get 100 points. We've proven that, and it's bothersome. We need offense, it's a serious problem."

Shue tried everything he could think of to improve the Clippers' scoring.

He started Darnell Valentine in place of Larry Drew at point guard, but that was a bust. Drew had more points off the bench than Valentine had in his first start of the season.

Valentine, who was in early foul trouble, had 4 points and 3 assists in 15 minutes. Drew had 10 points and 4 assists in 33 minutes.

With the Clippers down by 10 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Shue started three guards--Quintin Dailey, Mike Woodson and Drew--hoping to generate some offense.

Dailey wound up with a season-high 27 points and 7 rebounds, but Woodson, the team's leading scorer, had only 9 points.

"Going with three guards was more of a desperation thing," Shue said.

Dailey has played well coming off the bench, providing the Clippers with instant offense. He has 51 points in his last two games.

Shue said that it would be pointless to move him into the starting lineup.

"I don't think that (starting Dailey) is the answer," Shue said. "It would just be a cosmetic change. The bottom line is that the players are the same."

Dailey, who has been the team's leading scorer in its last two games, said he doesn't care if he starts.

"Right now I'm playing well coming off the bench," Dailey said. "I'm really not worried about starting. You have to remember that the Mavericks were playing well. It's not like we were that bad."

Center Benoit Benjamin has been the Clippers' most productive offensive player as of late.

Benjamin, who has averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds in his last three games, scored 21 points, 14 in the first half, and grabbed 7 rebounds.

However, he was benched for two brief periods in the third quarter for not going to the boards. Benjamin had four rebounds in the second half.

"Benjamin had a good offensive game, but again one of the problems was that we just don't rebound well consistently," Shue said.

Michael Cage led the Clippers with 15 rebounds.

Shue put Benjamin back in the game with 4:18 left in the third quarter but took him out again 1:17 later after Maverick center James Donaldson beat him for a long rebound, which took a Maverick bounce.

Benjamin seemed inspired as he scored the Clippers' first four points of the final quarter.

The Mavericks led, 42-41, at halftime and outscored the Clippers, 31-22, in the third quarter.

Mark Aguirre scored 26, including 13 in the third quarter, to lead the Mavericks (22-11).

Forward Roy Tarpley came off the bench to score 20 points. He also had a team-high 13 rebounds.

Clipper Notes

The Clippers are considering three players to replace injured rookie swingman Reggie Williams. The three are forward Tony Campbell, guard Terence Stansbury and Michael Phelps. However, Coach Gene Shue said there have been complications with Campbell and Stansbury. Campbell rejected an offer to play for the Clippers because he wants a guaranteed contract. Campbell, a 1984 first-round draft pick from Ohio State, spent the last three seasons with the Detroit Pistons but became a free agent at the end of last season and signed with the Washington Bullets last October. He was cut by the Bullets and is playing for the Albany (N.Y) Patroons in the Continental Basketball Assn. He averaged 20.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in his first nine games with Albany after signing on Dec. 23. Stansbury, who played for Seattle last season, recently left to play in the Netherlands. Phelps, a guard who played for Seattle last season, is playing for the Wyoming Wildcatters in the CBA. . . .

Injured Clipper guard Lancaster Gordon, who has been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last summer, said he'd like to come back. Gordon will be tested today to measure the strength in his injured knee. "I feel good," said Gordon, who has been working out with the team. "I'd like to give it a shot. I talked to Gene, but he said I wasn't jumping and I'm a player who relies on my jumping ability to get off my shot." Shue on Gordon: "A decision will be made soon. I would like to see Lancaster doing the things he can do. I think Lancaster's about ready to come back.

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