Austin's Power Is in His Passing

Much has been made of Clipper center Isaac Austin's size (6-10, 270 pounds), his ability to score inside and his rebounding.

But the thing that his teammates noticed from the day he arrived last month as part of a trade with the Miami Heat, the thing that has them all rooting for Austin to stay in Los Angeles after his contract expires at season's end, is his passing ability.

When the ball goes inside to the Clipper center, it doesn't stay there long if he doesn't have an open shot. As soon as he senses a double or triple team, he starts looking for an open teammate.

Some Clippers were startled at first to see the ball come back so quickly and sharply.

"I have never played with a center who is so aware of where the other players are," guard Eric Piatkowski said. "He looks all across the court until he finds an open man.

"It's a blessing for me to play with a guy like that."


Guard Mitchell Butler and forward Danny Ferry are on the Cavaliers' injured list.

Ferry, who is suffering from an inflammation of the right knee, has been out since Feb. 25, but is close to returning.

Ferry was out on the court, shaking the rust off his shot, before Saturday night's game at the Sports Arena.

Butler's return is a different matter. He has been on the injured list since Jan. 2 because of surgery to remove a herniated disk in his neck and isn't expected back until next season.

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