L.A. Clippers 92, Minnesota 86
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 24 (Ticker) -- Elton Brand
and the Los Angeles
Clippers are happy to be back home.
Brand scored 24 points and Corey Maggette
added 23 as the
Clippers snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 92-86
victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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It was Los Angeles' first game at the Staples Center since
losing the final eight games of a disastrous nine-game road
trip, including a 17-point setback to Phoenix on Wednesday. But
the Clippers never trailed in this one and extended their home
winning streak to five games.
"We've definitely been trying to get this monkey off our back
and today was a good day to do it," Maggette said. "We came out
of a back-to-back and played extremely well."
"It was a tough road trip for us," Brand said. "But to come
home and beat a team that is directly ahead of us in the playoff
race is a good feeling."
Leading by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, Los
Angeles saw its lead cut to 74-72 on a free throw by Troy Hudson
with 3:24 left.
hit a layup on the other end to ignite an 11-4 run
over the next three minutes that made it 85-76 with 36 seconds
remaining. Maggette made six free throws down the stretch to
seal the win.
"We fought hard and tried to make a little run at the end,"
Hudson said. "But we just fell short by a couple plays. It
wasn't too big of a hole to come out of, but you have to give
them credit because they kept us down by hitting their shots."
"It was good to get a close one," Brand said. "They fought back
and tried to make it a game, so it was good to get a win after
all of that."
Brand did most of his damage early, as the Clippers took control
with a 16-2 first-quarter burst.
After Latrell Sprewell
's layup drew Minnesota within 8-6 three
minutes into the game, Brand started the spurt with consecutive
baskets. He added four more points during the run, which was
capped by Bobby Simmons' jumper that made it 24-8 with 2:28 to
"We started off poorly and just couldn't recover from it,"
Timberwolves interim coach Kevin McHale said. "We had a
sluggish offensive start and with them making shots, we just got
down. We kept trying to battle back, but we couldn't get our
offense to flow the way we needed it to."
Maggette scored eight points in the second period as Los Angeles
took a 45-36 lead into the break.
The Timberwolves opened the second half with a 13-6 run, cutting
the deficit to 51-49 with 5:26 left in the third quarter on a
pair of free throws by Trenton Hassell
But Brand and Maggette combined for six points in a 10-5 spurt
that pushed the Clippers' advantage back to seven three minutes
Minnesota All-Star Kevin Garnett
struggled with foul trouble in
the second half and scored just 14 points - eight below his
season average - on 6-of-16 shooting.
"Thank God K.G. didn't have a good game tonight," Maggette said.
"We got him in foul trouble early and he wasn't hitting
Sprewell scored 17 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 15 for the
Timberwolves, who fell to 2-2 under McHale and lost their fourth
straight road game.