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Los Angeles Clippers reserve center Marreese Speights is adept at taking charges

Los Angeles Clippers reserve center Marreese Speights is adept at taking charges
Clippers forward Marreese Speights (5) eyes the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves' Nemanja Bjelica (88) and Gorgui Dieng defend during the second half on Mar. 8. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

He has become a master at taking charges, using his 6-foot-10, 255-pound body as a defensive deterrence, an art form that Clippers reserve center Marreese Speights has nearly perfected.

Before the Clippers played the Utah Jazz on Monday night, Speights had drawn 26 charging fouls, tied for second in the NBA.

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And he'd done that while playing only 16 minutes a game.

"I just know when they come in the lane they are trying to jump and pass the ball," Speights said of opponents, "their body and their momentum is going to keep coming."

Speights also has to be conscious of the restricted area in the lane, making sure his feet are planted outside the arc before he attempts to draw an offensive foul.

"I kind of got a feeling where it is," he said. "It's very rare you'll see, like my whole career, I was inside the line. That's just something that I feel. I know when to step up certain spaces. It's kind of a knack."

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he knows why Speights is so adept at taking charges.

"Mo figured out that he can't jump," Rivers said, laughing. "It's the truth. If you can't block a shot, then put your body in the way. Most bigs don't do that. But most bigs will get out of the way or try to block the shot and get a foul. Mo figured that out early, that he's not going to block a lot of shots, but he can put his body in the way and take charges. And to me, that's just like a blocked shot. So, I think it's smart on Mo's part."

Johnson back with Clippers

If there was anything that Clippers rookie Brice Johnson learned from his three games playing in the NBA Development League for the Salt Lake City Stars, it was that he has to get in better shape.

Johnson, who sat out the Clippers' 56 games while recovering from a herniated disk in his lower back, averaged 9.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and made 46.2% of his shots in 14.1 minutes per game.

"It was just to see where I am," Johnson said Monday after being recalled.

He then added: "Obviously I need to get in shape. But it's different with the altitude up here. It kind of hit me in the first game and after that I was pretty cool."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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