Kaman has some good news
If Donald Sterling wasn’t happy with his Clippers while Baron Davis and Marcus Camby were on the floor, inquiring minds wondered what the frustrated owner was thinking Saturday when the starting lineup consisted of three rookies and a second-year player.
“He’s not available,” a Clippers spokesman said of Sterling.
Neither were point guard Davis, who missed the game after “tweaking” his right hamstring during the second quarter of Wednesday’s home loss to Memphis, or center Camby, stopped by migraines after an MRI found “fluid in his head,” likely from a prior ear infection being treated with antibiotics, Coach Mike Dunleavy said.
Assessing the latest wounds, long-absent center Chris Kaman said before tipoff, “It’s like there’s a curse on this team.”
Even so, the young Clippers played one of their best halves of the season, surging to a 13-point halftime lead as rookie guard Eric Gordon came back from a shoulder injury to score 22 of his 35 points.
But the youngsters squandered the lead down the stretch and lost again, to the Indiana Pacers, 106-105, when Jarrett Jack converted a three-point play in the final minute and Gordon had a last-second shot blocked Saturday night at Staples Center.
Kaman had more uplifting news, announcing that with the clearance of a Monday MRI, he’ll be back to play Tuesday for the first time since Nov. 26. The 7-foot Kaman has been out with plantar fasciitis in his left foot but said he is targeting playing about 20 minutes against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kaman was in the locker room Monday night when Sterling walked in to “address” his players, and made it clear, “he wants us to get better,” rookie center DeAndre Jordan said.
“He said his piece, and he has that right. It’s his team,” Kaman said. “No owner likes to see his team lose by 30 points, and no owner wants his team to have 15 wins at this point of the season. It’s tough here.
“Every year, on paper, we look solid, but the paper doesn’t work its way out there to the game floor.”
Kaman said the point he grasped from Sterling’s talk was “how we finish the season is important. Have some pride.
“We have 19 games left. It’s tough. You don’t want to give up, but when you know even if you win all 19 games you’re not going to catch up [to the losses], it makes the year so much longer.”
Veteran guard Ricky Davis said Sterling’s scolding could be interpreted as an indictment of the team’s effort -- they are 15-48 and have lost five straight -- but noted the injury toll and youthfulness need to be considered. Davis said he’s out another two or three weeks with left knee tendinitis.
“Some of the young guys just don’t know where to go, what to do,” Davis said. “I hope [the talk] gets the guys motivated. It’s about the nature of the person.”
Rookie guard Gordon, new to all this, said, “We’re all frustrated by our record, but it’s explainable. We haven’t played as a full team.”
Baron Davis and Camby are both day-to-day, according to a team spokesman. Davis, believed to be a target of Sterling’s locker room visit, played through two quarters of hamstring discomfort in Wednesday’s home loss to Memphis. It was still sore at practice, and the slight implications of Saturday’s game clinched rest as the appropriate treatment.
Forward Zach Randolph returned to the team following the Thursday morning death of his father, Roger, 59, at an Indianapolis hospital. Randolph said his father died of liver failure, with his six children at his bedside. The elder Randolph had been jailed on a “narcotics” charge for a decade before his release a year ago, Zach Randolph said. “He was gone when I was in high school, but he was a good guy who loved his kids and this is what he wanted from me -- get back to doing my job and work hard,” Randolph said. Randolph said he expects to miss the March 14 game in Denver to attend his father’s funeral. . . . Dunleavy’s son, Mike, a Pacers guard, underwent surgery for a bone spur removal and repair of his right patellar tendon Friday in Vail, Colo., and the outcome was described by the coach as “the best results possible.” The younger Dunleavy is out for the season.
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