Larry Brown is part of a very small group of coaches who have led the Clippers to the postseason, but he thinks the list might grow this season.

In town with the Knicks this week, Brown praised Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy, who has led Los Angeles into first place in the Pacific Division early in his third season with the team.

"Mike's a great coach and a really underrated coach," Brown said. "I think if you've got offensive players with Mike, he'll figure out a way to maximize the things that they do. I remember when Mike talked to them about the job. They want to win."

Brown did it more than any other coach since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles, leading them to the playoffs in 1992 and '93. Their only other trip came in 1997 under Bill Fitch.

* FAMILIAR FACE: When Seattle native Nate Robinson went across the country to play for the Knicks, there was a familiar face waiting for him. Already on the Knicks was G Jamal Crawford, Robinson's old teammate at Rainier Beach High School.

"That's my little brother," Crawford said.

Crawford, a Parade Magazine All-America selection his senior season, led the Vikings to a state title.

* SLOW RETURN: The Jazz's Andrei Kirilenko missed half of last season because of injuries and has missed seven games already this year. The layoffs have taken their toll on the former all-star's scoring.

In his first four seasons, Kirilenko shot 46 percent from the field and was solid from the free throw line, shooting 78 percent. This season he was shooting 36 percent from the field and 63 percent from the line through 19 games.

-- From News Services

Mike Dunleavy, front, has the Clippers on pace for first playoff berth since 1997.