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Dunleavy wants everyone on boards

Times Staff Writer

There’s no doubt the Clippers will need to scramble to plug the scoring hole created by Elton Brand’s absence.

Almost as important, though, they need to find a way to compensate for his rebounding numbers. Brand, who is expected to miss several months because of a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon, has been the team’s top rebounder, averaging 10.2 a game for his career.

With that in mind, Coach Mike Dunleavy has a rule: anyone who misses box-out assignments in a game must run at practice. Even if a remorseful Chris Kaman pleads and promises to run another day as he did last week.

“That’s going to be a challenge,” Dunleavy said. “A guy like Tim Thomas is going to have to put up [rebounding] numbers. All five guys are going to have to get in there as a group and rebound.”

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In other words, everyone from point guard to center will crash the boards and then look to get the Clippers into their transition offense.

Corey Maggette’s grabbing 14 rebounds in an exhibition against the Golden State Warriors was a positive early sign. He averaged 5.9 rebounds last season.

“I’m going to do what I can,” he said. “I know we’ll have to help with E.B. [Brand] out. It’s important to get the rebound as well as stopping your man from getting the rebound.”

But the main cog in the middle will have to be Kaman. His rebounding average fell from 9.6 in 2005-06 to 7.8 last season, but he also saw fewer minutes while struggling with his overall game.

“A lot of it is positioning and a knack for rebounding,” Kaman said. “A lot of times, you can’t control where the balls bounce. Sometimes, there are long rebounds. Sometimes, there are short rebounds.”

As part of the NBA’s “Paint the Town” campaign, several players handed out pairs of tickets, candy and mini-pennants at four Southland locations Wednesday.

Ruben Patterson, Josh Powell and Al Thornton visited JetBlue Airways at the Long Beach Airport to the surprise of many people awaiting flights.

“It’s good to do these types of meet and greets, so people can see our personalities and what type of people we are,” Thornton said.

Thornton (sore ankle), Thomas (sore lower back) and Kaman (ankle sprain) participated in noncontact portions of practice. Powell returned after missing a day because of personal reasons.

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com


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