Corey Maggette: "Dunleavy believes in us and we believe in him"
CM: Yeah, of course. I mean, yes it makes a difference that those guys aren’t here anymore, but there’s still a lot of talent still here.
How about your personal growth? With the injury to Elton Brand, you’ve emerged as the team’s go-to-guy.
CM: I wouldn’t say that. When guys go down, other people step up. You just try to fill in the holes where you can. I’m just glad that I can make a difference.
CM: Yeah, that could’ve happened, but the (Clippers) organization stepped up. I enjoy playing in L.A. It’s not just about money, you have to want to be somewhere too.
You dropped your first two games in Japan. Was the team concerned that it might go south from there?
CM: No, not at all. I know a lot people had written us off because of the offseason changes and the injury to Elton (Brand), but it’s an 82-game season, not a two-game.
It looks like the team as a whole is more relaxed out there, in fact confident.
CM: We are. I’d say that since we’re without a lot of players that guys are comfortable being on the floor. Guys know their roles and I give a lot of credit to Coach Dunleavy.
How is it to play for Mike Dunleavy?
CM: It’s good. He believes in us and we believe in him. It kind of goes back to what I said before, guys know what they’re supposed to do.
Is it OK to say the P-word…playoffs this year?
CM: Do I think this team can make the playoffs? Yes. I’m not going to sell my teammates short. There is talent here and we can win here. I think we can do it. Every team should set out with that goal and expectation.
I know it’s early, but you’re playing All-Star caliber ball. Any thoughts of an All-star appearance?
CM: I guess in general, every player would like that type of recognition, but that’s so far away. I’ll just continue to fit in where I can and contribute. The rest will have to take care of itself. I’m more concerned about winning games.
You’re doing that. As of now you’ve won four in a row. How does it feel?
CM: It feels good, obviously. But it feels real good because we expect to win, not just hoping.
So would you say it’s more attitude and approach than skills and talent?
CM: I would say both. So far, we’ve been able to win close games lately. We lost a ton of games in the fourth quarter last year. I think we’re better in that part of our game now.
Are you comfortable with being the team’s go-to-guy now?
CM: I don’t know if that’s what I am, but I’m cool with doing whatever so we can win. If I don’t get it done, hopefully someone does. It’s not about who does it, just so long as it gets done.
Morris O'Kelly is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
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