Kaman, Wilcox Spark Clippers Early
L.A. Clippers 105, Golden State 92
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (Ticker) -- Chris Kaman and Chris Wilcox provided unexpected early offense for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Kaman scored 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter and Wilcox had 12 of his season-high 16 in the first half as the Clippers raced to a 105-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
"The Clippers went down to Chris Kaman and Chris Wilcox coming off the bench," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "We worked really hard to minimize Elton Brand's touches but they went to Wilcox and Kaman and they produced."
Often a forgotten element of the offense, Kaman - who averages 10.8 points - started quickly as he made 4-of-5 shots in the first period, helping Los Angeles open a 37-27 advantage.
"I don't know what the situation is, but if I get the ball in good position I try to do the best I can to score," said Kaman, who made 7-of-12 shots.
Wilcox, who averages 4.3 points, came on for Kaman late in the period and had a pair of inside buckets in a 10-2 surge that closed the quarter. He added eight more points in the second period - including a thunderous driving dunk - as the Clippers extended the lead to 63-52 at halftime.
"I just took advantage of the situation and everything began falling." Wilcox said. "I got some early quick easy buckets and went on after that. I just went out there played hard and just tried to give our team that extra spark. Everything worked out for the best."
"Chris gave us a big lift around the basket," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He made a couple of real strong post moves for us. when we get bench production, we have a chance to be pretty good."
Los Angeles shot 55 percent (26-of-47) in the first half, when it also got a boost from defensive demon Quinton Ross, who scored eight of his 11 points before the break.
The Clippers appeared to put away the game with a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter that doubled the lead to 95-71. The Warriors stormed back within 97-87 with four minutes remaining before Mobley made two free throws and a jumper to stall the rally.
"I preferred that we took that big 20-point lead home and got a chance to play guys," Dunleavy said. "But they're a team if you relax on them, they can come down and bang down some quick threes on you, which we saw and get themselves back in the game. So, you can't relax with that team."
"It just seems like we couldn't close it," Kaman explained. "We were up by 15, 17, 18 and we just kept letting them back in it. It's kind of disappointing, but we got the win."
Cassell scored 21 points and Elton Brand 12 and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who had six players in double figures. Kaman also swept 15 boards and blocked four shots as Los Angeles enjoyed a 49-27 advantage on the glass.
"They're more physical than we are," Warriors gurad Baron Davis said. "They really have a great game plan when they play against us. They know what they want to do. They know where they want to attack us and they exploit them. And they pound us in the boards every time we play them."
Jason Richardson scored 23 points and L.A. native Davis added 22 for the Warriors, who have lost six straight meetings in the series. Davis returned from a one-game league suspension for Monday's altercation with Seattle guard Luke Ridnour.
"I missed (playing)," Davis said. "As for suspensions, I'll never get suspended again."
Golden State (19-20) had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell three games behind second-place Los Angeles (21-16) in the Pacific Division. The teams play again in Oakland on Monday.
"Golden State is hovering right about .500 and they're behind us in the Pacific, so it's very instrumental," Brand said. "We're in there, so we have to stay ahead of the teams that are behind us and catch some of the upper-echelon teams."