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CLIPPERS CALL OUT THEIR RESERVES BENCH PLAYERS LOOK TO IMPROVE THEIR PRODUCTION VS. DENVER.

Byline: VINCENT BONSIGNORE Staff Writer

When word got back to Vladimir Radmanovic that the Nuggets were approaching Game 2 of the Western Conference playoffs like a bunch of neighborhood bullies, Radmanovic just smiled.

"That just means we have to match what they bring," said the Clippers reserve power forward.

Iit was imperative that the Clippers match it, especially the second unit of Radmanovic, Corey Maggette, Zeljko Rebraca and Shaun Livingston.

The Clippers won Game 1 on Saturday, but the bench players hardly distinguished themselves. They were on the floor late in the third quarter when the Nuggets mounted a furious comeback, and their inability to maintain the first units solid play was the main reason the Nuggets made a game of it.

The biggest problem was offensive boards - Denver finished with 19 - and loose balls that fell into the hands of the Nuggets rather than the Clippers.

"And that's just effort and getting after it and playing with emotion," Maggette said.

That's why Maggette and Radmanovic didn't mind the Nuggets' bold talk about turning Game 2 into a street fight, because that's exactly the mind-set the Clippers second unit had, too.

The approach was to crash the boards and force the issue rather than sit back and respond to what Denver was doing. It's something the Clippers' reserves didn't do Saturday, but one they vowed to do Monday.

"We want to be aggressive and run," Maggette said. "When they're not making shots they don't attack the boards, they just want to run out. So when they miss, we should have an opportunity to run."

The Clippers got 17 points and 15 rebounds from their bench players Saturday but they made just 5 of 17 shots. Maggette, who averaged 18points and six rebounds in an injury-plagued year is capable of doubling that point total all by himself when he's playing his game.

"I think when we were struggling in that third quarter it was all about offensive rebounds," Maggette said. "They were missing shots, but all of a sudden a loose ball here or there and the ball's back in their hands for a layup. Or we'd run out on a loose ball and Caremelo's got an easy dunk or a jump shot. What we have to slow down is those second chance points and offensive rebounds."

If so, Maggette expects the second unit to get out in transition and be productive.

"It's just attacking more, especially with me and (Livingston) because we can be like speed demons," Maggette said.

Radmanovic agreed.

"That's definitely something we've got to do because that's exactly what Denver's second unit is doing," Radmanovic said. "They bring energy and that's something we have to match to win (that matchup). We all know what to do and what our jobs are, now we just have to go out there and do it."

vincent.bonsignore@dailynews.com

(818) 713-3612

CAPTION(S):

2 photos, 6 boxes

Photo:

(1) Corey Maggette and the rest of the Clippers' reserves expect to be a bigger factor in the series against Denver.

Gus Ruelas/Staff Photographer

(2) no caption (Cuttino Mobley)

Tom Mendoza/LA Daily News

Box:

(1) HERO

(2) GOAT

(3) THEY SAID IT

(4) QUARTER BY QUARTER

(5) WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND BEST-OF-7 CLIPPERS LEAD, 2-0

(6) WESTER CONFERENCE
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 25, 2006
Words:548
Previous Article:CLIPPERS HAVE ENOUGH IN RESERVE BENCH PLAYERS IMPROVE THEIR PRODUCTION IN VICTORY VS. DENVER.
Next Article:DODGERS NOTEBOOK: STEALING A NEW WEAPON.


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