Earl Clark Needs to Step Up as Injuries Hamper Los Angeles Lakers’ Frontcourt

Opportunity is knocking on the door of Los Angeles Lakers forward Earl Clark.

The Lakers' frontcourt is resembling a MASH unit at the moment. Dwight Howard is out and hasn't looked 100 percent at any point this season, and he joins Pau Gasol, who is also out.

Then today, Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported that Jordan Hill could be out for the rest of the season with a hip injury.

With all these injuries, it's imperative that the remaining frontcourt players take their games to another level, Clark in particular.

He had a very good performance Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a result of so many players being out, Clark cracked the starting five.

Prior to the Thunder game, he had only started one game in his five-year career. It was such a monumental occasion, the official Lakers Twitter feed posted a picture of him warming up before the game:

Tonight's starting PF Earl Clark getting shots up 90 minutes before tip. #GoLakers twitter.com/Lakers/status/…

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 12, 2013 In 37 minutes on the floor, Clark recorded his second consecutive double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three blocks.

Clark put in a 22-point, 13-rebound effort against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. The previous game he brought down nine boards while adding just five points.

So in his short time playing 20-plus minutes a night, Clark has shown an affinity for crashing the boards. At this point, Mike D'Antoni just needs to ride the hot hand until Clark cools off.

It's unrealistic to expect him to continually put up numbers like that, but fans and the Lakers coaching staff should be expecting Clark to put on solid performances from here on out.

Clark has been a big disappointment ever since being drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 14th overall pick in 2009.

With tha...

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