For a couple of Clippers, tonight's game against Vancouver could be their last of the shortened season. Wednesday, the team must cut down from 14 players to the normal NBA roster limit of 12.
Free agent Tyrone Nesby was not expected to make it this far but the rookie small forward from Nevada Las Vegas has produced whenever called upon.
"I think about [the cutdown], but I try not to think about it too much," said Nesby, who had a season-high nine points and three rebounds in 19 minutes in Sunday's loss to Minnesota. "I just try to go out there and play ball. If they cut me, they cut me. I can't put my head down. Coach [Chris] Ford gave me an opportunity to play."
Nesby has given the Clippers a spark off the bench by being tenacious on defense and aggressive on offense. But the Clippers are stocked at forward. Lamond Murray, Maurice Taylor, Rodney Rogers and Lorenzen Wright, who also plays center, are not going to be cut.
"Like Coach says, 'If I don't talk to you that means something good,' " Nesby said. "So, I take that as a plus."
The Clippers can have three players on the injured list but two are there already, rookie forward Brian Skinner and veteran guard Scott Brooks. Skinner is still a couple of weeks from returning to the court because of a left knee injury, and Brooks is expected to be sidelined even longer with his right knee injury.
The Clippers realize the value of playing as a team but selfish play has been evident in their first five games, all losses.
"Everyone thinks that they can get us over the top . . . [but we have] to play within the team concept and keep moving the ball, keep moving your body [and] don't be stagnant offensively," Ford said.
"When you're losing, it is much more difficult to stay within the system for the players. But the only way you're going to get out of a losing situation is to stay within the system. You have to have discipline. . . . It's tough but you can't have five guys out on the court thinking they can just go down the court and jack [shots] up."
Tonight vs. Vancouver, 7:30
* Site--Arrowhead Pond.
* Radio--KXTA (1150).
* Records--Clippers 0-5; Grizzlies 2-3.
* Record vs. Grizzlies--0-1.
* Update--The Grizzlies have won two of their last three games, one of those over the Clippers last week. Rookie Mike Bibby is averaging 10 points and nine assists for Vancouver. The Clippers have gone to the free-throw line an average of 7.6 fewer times than their opponents. The last time the Clippers began a season 0-5 was the 1994-95 season when the team started off 0-13. They began last season 1-14.
* Tickets: (213) 480-3232 or (714) 740-2000.