Walton Decides This Is One of His Playing Nights

November 8, 1983
San Diego Clippers center Bill Walton, who had planned to skip tonight's game against the Washington Bullets at Capital Centre (7:35) in favor of playing Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, will instead play here, a spokesman for the team said yesterday.

Walton, still coming back slowly from the foot injury that almost ended his career, is on a schedule that calls for him to play 60 games this season, while not having him play in back-to-back games. The last time Walton played was Friday against the Seattle SuperSonics. He sat out Sunday's game with the Denver Nuggets. 

The Clippers, who have won three of five games, can play with any team in the NBA when Waltonis around.

Their three victories have come against Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles, the only three games in which Walton played.

Playing 25 minutes a game, Walton is averaging 13 points, nine rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots.

The Clippers probably made more significant changes than any other team from a year ago, and it looks as if they are paying off.

The first move was to hire Jim Lynam, former American University coach and Portland Trail Blazers assistant, as coach.

This is Lynam's first head job in the NBA, but he says he isn't worried about lack of experience. "Different people look on experience in different ways," he said.

"My feeling is that whether you're talking about a player or a coach, experience is nice if everything else is equal, but the main question is whether or not the guy can do the job."

Lynam is convinced he can.

Lynam set out to get the players he wanted and the Clippers were involved in two of the biggest trades of the season. First, they sent forward Tom Chambers and guard Al Wood to Seattle for Greg Kelser (now the Clippers' starting small forward) and reserve center James Donaldson.

Then, they acquired Norm Nixon from Los Angeles for center Swen Nater and unsigned No. 1 draft choice, guard Byron Scott of Arizona State. Scott has since signed and is riding the bench for the Lakers while Nixon has proved to be just what Lynam wanted, an experienced playmaker and floor leader who knows how to win.

Nixon, now out from behind Magic Johnson's shadow, is third in the NBA in assists, averaging 11 a game. He is averaging 16.8 points.

Terry Cummings still is the main everyday player for the Clippers. He is averaging 21.4 points and 9.8 rebounds. The other starter is Craig Hodges.

The Clippers have also developed into one of the best shooting teams in the league, making 53 percent of their shots.

The Bullets, meanwhile, are looking for ways to improve on their 1-4 record. "It's time we started getting the job done and winning some games," said Coach Gene Shue.

Rookie guard Michael Britt is recovering from a sprained ankle that caused him to be put on the injured list. He worked out with the team yesterday and appears about ready to be activated.

A player on the injured list must miss a minimum of five games, which Britt has, but there is no limit on the maximum number of games he can be on the list.

The Bullets were uncertain yesterday what their next move would be in regards to Britt. They don't want to give up on a player with such enormous potential, but he isn't going to improve much sitting on the bench, either.

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