Kaman, Cassell Lead Clippers Past Sonics
L.A. Clippers 98, Seattle 72
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14 (Ticker) -- Both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics were without their stars. Thanks to Chris Kaman and Sam Cassell, the Clippers looked like they were much less handicapped.
Kaman tied a career high with 25 points and 10 rebounds and Cassell added 24 points and six assists as the Clippers rolled to a 98-72 triumph over the SuperSonics.
"I just want to be able to give the team a lift every once in a while," said Kaman, who made 10-of-12 shots before sitting out the fourth quarter. "I knew Elton was out so I knew I had to play a little bit more minutes and a little bit more offensively, and I was able to do that.
"I was getting the ball in the right spots and the guys were seeing me. Sam and Cat were doing a good job of giving me the ball for easy shots and I was putting them down."
Cassell winced when he heard the Clippers had won back-to-back games for the first time in a month, especially without their top player.
"It's tough. I'd rather have (Elton) on the court but we're going to manage," Cassell said. "That's our horse but if the horse is not there, I have a white horse that stepped up. Kaman knows he's got to play big for us. He did a magnificent job of controlling the boards, controlling the post up."
Brand was unsure when he would return to action, but he praised his teammates for stepping up in his absence.
"I'll be back as soon as I can run," Brand said. "I can't really run right now, but once that subsides, I'm back.
"Kaman played well tonight. Sam played well tonight, so it's good. Whoever they were missing, I don't care. We looked great."
Seattle also without its leading scorer as Ray Allen served the second game of his three-game suspension for his fight with Keyon Dooling in Wednesday's win over Orlando. The Sonics were also without leading rebounder Reggie Evans due to flu-like symptoms.
"Right now, we're not healthy. We're wounded," said Sonics forward Rashard Lewis, who finished with 22 points. "We got to get healthy and get our guys back."
"They play good basketball but didn't shoot the ball well tonight and we did a good job defensively on them," Kaman said. "They had good energy but the shots weren't going down for them. I don't know if it was because Ray Allen was out but they normally shoot the ball better than that."
The Clippers had a one-point lead early in the second quarter before reeling off the next 16 points. Cuttino Mobley scored seven of his 14 points during the surge with Kaman adding four, including a dunk to cap the surge and make it 39-22 with 6:24 left in the half.
"We're trying to get by without a guy that averages 20 and 10 every night," Mobley said. "So, I got to step up any way possible. Whether its score a lot or play the best man, it helps the team."
"I've been telling people for a long time, he's coming," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. said of Kaman. "He's got a strong low-post game, left-hand, right-hand, good quickness. He doesn't mind contact. He's going to be terrific for us."
Lewis, who finished with 22 points, helped the Sonics close within 10 at the break and had them as close as eight at several junctures of the third period. The last time came with eight minutes left, when Robert Swift's jumper made it 58-50.
But Los Angeles put away the game by closing the session with an 18-8 spurt. Cassell scored eight in the surge and Kaman, who established his career high with 25 points against Sacramento nine days ago, chipped in four.
"I thought we played well in the first half and kept ourselves within reach but in the second half, I think fatigue set in," Lewis said. "We didn't get in until 2-2:30 in the morning. Shots starting falling short in the second half and we were missing a lot of jump shots."