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How Earl Clark got into the Lakers' rotation

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05:33 PM ET 01.15 | Earl Clark earned his recent playing time by luck, but he's done everything and then some to make the most of it. Injuries to Los Angeles Lakers teammates Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill made room for Clark to enter the rotation, but likely no one could have predicted he'd earn himself starting minutes. In the past four games since Gasol's injury, Clark has averaged 12.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. And one fitting moment set it all off. After Gasol was hit in the head and knocked out of the game in a game against Denver, Nuggets head coach George Karl, by rule, picked Clark to take the flagrant free throws. "I was kind of surprised he chose him because he's one of our best shooters," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "But, they didn't know and we didn't know. That's why he sat at the end of the bench. Nobody kind of knew. His knock in Orlando was he couldn't make shots, so that???s the scouting report and that???s why they did it and that???s kind of why he was the last guy to get a chance."

ESPN Los Angeles

, Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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January 15, 2013  10:14 PM ET

****! Now we know the Lakers won that trade with Orlando!

January 15, 2013  10:14 PM ET

Really? O-M-F-G is censored?

January 16, 2013  01:41 PM ET

Yeah Earl stepped up the Lakers overall game in a big way. I mean he can put up stats in various areas, is atheletic and quick for his size, can shoot anywhere on the court, is not scared to drive, can pass very well , and has shown to bring very solid D while guarding all 5 positions (yeah, guarding Monte' Ellis a 1-2 guard last night? Durant a 2-5 prior?) Though I wouldn't consider him 'the Pearl' as of yet, he's definitely shown to be a diamond in the rough through the injuries. Now if he can stay consistent...Jordan Hill who?

January 16, 2013  01:48 PM ET

Being Magic fan I was really disappointed seeing him go, I really liked his game and saw a lot of improvement. If he gets constant playing time Y'all will be surprised what a really good player he is, just give him a chance.

 
January 17, 2013  02:55 PM ET

I think the Suns gave up on him too early. Clark has shown flashes, but he's only had limited or scrub minutes in which to show them. I'm glad he's finally coming around despite it being at the expense of Gasol or Hill, but that's not within his control. Good on him to stay hungry yet patient.

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