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Team to Train, Play in Russia

Times Staff Writer

The Clippers will conduct training camp in Moscow in October and play exhibition games against Russian club teams as part of the NBA’s efforts to expand its reach internationally.

“This is a great opportunity for the fans in Russia to see an NBA team and how the American game is played,” said rookie forward Yaroslav Korolev, one of five Russians on NBA rosters.

“I am very excited because I get to play at home and show my teammates a place that most of them have never been to.”

The Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs are also scheduled to open their camps in Europe and play exhibition games in seven cities in five countries.

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“Any time the league asks you to represent them, or someone asks you to be their guest, it’s an honor,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “It’s an opportunity for us to show people who we are.”

Camp starts the first week of October. The Clippers will face CSKA Moscow on Oct. 6 and Unics Kazan on Oct. 8.

After the Moscow trip, the Clippers plan to return to Santa Barbara for another training camp, Dunleavy said.

The Clippers would be the first NBA team to travel to Russia since the Atlanta Hawks toured the former Soviet Union in 1988.

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“It’s an exciting opportunity to be one of the four teams selected to represent the NBA in Europe next fall,” forward Elton Brand said. “We look forward to bringing the NBA game to Moscow.”

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Second-year point guard Shaun Livingston, sidelined all season because of a stress reaction in his lower back, might make his season debut tonight against the New Orleans Hornets.

“It’s possible,” Dunleavy said. “We’ve been working him hard the last couple of days. If there’s any residual effect, then no. But if he’s OK, he could.”

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TONIGHT

vs. New Orleans Hornets, 5 PST

Site -- Ford Center, Oklahoma City.

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Radio -- 1150.

Records -- Clippers 14-7, Hornets 9-12.

2004-05 record vs. Hornets -- 3-1.

Update -- Backup center Zeljko Rebraca, who recently underwent a noninvasive procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat, has been cleared to resume cardiovascular exercises, a Clipper spokesman said. Hornet rookie point guard Chris Paul averages 16.5 points and seven assists.


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