L.A. Lakers 106, L.A. Clippers 103
LOS ANGELES, March 17 (Ticker) --
In less than two minutes, the Los
Angeles Lakers nearly undid a dominant offensive performance.
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scored 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting and Shaquille O'Neal
had 21 and 11 rebounds as the Lakers held on for a
106-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the opener of a
The Lakers, who were the road team, led by as many as 17 points
as they shot nearly 60 percent (38-of-63) through three
quarters. They led comfortably until the Clippers rallied late.
"We had a meltdown mentally in the second half," Lakers coach
Phil Jackson said. "We made too many mistakes down the
Trailing by 10 with just under two minutes remaining, the
Clippers scored eight of the next nine points after O'Neal fouled out.
sank two free throws, buried a jumper and, after
teammate Keyon Dooling's
dunk, made a 3-pointer to bring the
Clippers within 104-102 with 17 seconds left.
The Lakers threw away the inbounds pass and the Clippers had a
chance to tie, but Maggette and Dooling missed 3-pointers in the
"It's tough when you put yourself in a predicament like that,
being down (17) points to such a talented team," Clippers
forward Elton Brand
said. "They can score and were hitting on
all cylinders in the first half. But we fought, we tried to get
it into overtime. We were right there."
Lakers forward Karl Malone
had 17 points and eight rebounds in
his third game back from a knee injury. It was his best game
since scoring 20 against the New York Knicks on Dec. 9.
"I'm feeling better every game," he said. "I got a ways to go,
but I do feel better."
scored 12 points and Gary Payton
had 10 and seven
assists for the Lakers, who finished at 55 percent (45-of-82)
from the floor to overcome 20 turnovers.
The Lakers won for the eighth time in 10 games and moved within
1 1/2 games of Minnesota for the second-best record in the
Brand had 26 points and nine rebounds and Maggette added 25 and
eight for the Clippers, who have lost 12 of their last 14 games.
"I'm disappointed," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "In the
first half, we gave up a lot of easy baskets. In the second
half, we came out and played much better. We never give up."
added 21 points as the Clippers shot just 43
percent (38-of-88) from the floor, including 2-of-13 3-pointers,
but made 25-of-30 free throws.