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CLIPPERS NOTEBOOK: THEY'VE TRASHED ALL TALK.

Byline: JOE STEVENS Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO -- Chris Kaman used the word ``punish'' to describe the Clippers' game plan against the Phoenix Suns' small lineup.

Steve Nash disagreed with Mike Dunleavy, when the Clippers coach said his team threw a better defense at the Suns in Game 2.

But if that is considered trash talk, then both the Clippers and Suns need a crash course in verbal bravado.

While the Clippers find themselves in a series knotted 1-1, the same position the Lakers were in against the Suns in the first round, the tenor of this series with Game 3 tonight at Staples Center is much different because there's no trash talking.

In the Lakers' series, Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell traded insults on a daily basis. In the Clippers' series, the players sound more like they're engaged in a gentlemen's game of croquet, not a physical Western Conference semifinal.

No personalities have clashed in this series, and that's new for both teams. Bell had his deal with Bryant, and on the Clippers' side, Kaman had a big problem with the Nuggets' Reggie Evans in the first round. But now, the Clippers center hardly sees a problem with the Suns.

``The dirtiest guy they probably have is Raja Bell, and he's not dirty at all,'' Kaman said. ``He just plays real hard and flops.''

If the Clippers are trying to get under Bell's skin, they sound awkward doing it. Dunleavy sounded stilted Thursday, when answering a question about Bell with a tongue-in-cheek response.

``I don't know about hard-nosed,'' Dunleavy saiddescribing Bell. ``He flops a lot.''

joe.stevens@presstelegram.com

(562) 499-1286
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 12, 2006
Words:271
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