Brand, Cassell Propel Clippers Past Magic
L.A. Clippers 106, Orlando 94
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 1 (Ticker) -- The combination of Elton Brand and Sam Cassell proved to be a lethal one for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Brand poured in 35 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Cassell added 26 points as the Clippers won for the sixth time in seven games with a 106-94 victory over the Orlando Magic.
"(Brand's) been doing this his whole career," said Cassell, who made 10-of-18 shots, including 2-of-3 from the arc. "He might not have been averaging this many points but he's always been a 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) guy. He's has always played consistently. Now that we are winning, people are starting to take notice."
Hedo Turkoglu opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to slice Orlando's deficit to 82-76. But Los Angeles answered with a 14-2 run behind eight points from Cassell, who scored all 10 of his second-half points in the fourth quarter.
"(Cassell's) got that ability to hit big shots," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Our guys did a good job setting picks to get him open and he delivers."
"It is great to have a floor general like (Cassell)," said Brand, who added four assists and four steals. "He is a great addition and I love having him here. Anytime we need a big shot, he's not afraid to take them and he hits most of them."
The Magic closed within 101-93 before Brand converted a three-point play with 55 seconds left to all but seal the victory.
"Elton Brand is having a MVP-type season," said Orlando guard Keyon Dooling, who scored 11 points and added four assists. "He's their guy. They went to him and he delivered."
Cuttino Mobley contributed 16 points and Chris Kaman pitched in 10 and eight rebounds for the Clippers, who shot a blistering 53 percent (41-of-77) from the field.
"We couldn't make any shots and we didn't play very good defense in the first half, which got us in a hole," said Magic coach Brian Hill, whose team fell to 0-11 when allowing its opponent to shoot over 50 percent. "I give them credit - they're a heck of an offensive team. They're a tough team to guard. We shoot 38 percent and the other team shoots 53 percent, it makes it tough."
Orlando placed six players in double figures, led by Steve Francis' 21 points. Dwight Howard collected 15 points and 15 rebounds and Turkoglu also chipped in 15 points for the Magic, who have dropped two straight home games following a seven-game winning streak here.
"I thought we were going to be able to make a run towards the end of the game," said Francis, who shot just 5-of-13 from the field. "We didn't have a lot of energy out there and we didn't play with urgency when we got close. That was it."