Brand, Cassell End Visiting Spursí Streak
L.A. Clippers 98, San Antonio 85
LOS ANGELES, March 7 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan's loss was Elton Brand's gain.
While Duncan struggled through foul trouble in a sub-par effort, Brand took advantage by scoring 30 points and grabbing nine rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 98-85 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who had won seven straight games.
He chipped in three blocked shots and five assists against just one turnover while Duncan, who left Monday's win here over the Los Angeles Lakers after taking a finger to the eye, turned over the ball four times and had just six points until midway through the fourth quarter.
Brand outscored Duncan in the first half, 19-4, but the Spurs held a 43-42 lead. Chris Kaman had a basket and Sam Cassell two to spark a 6-0 spurt that put the Clippers ahead for good, 63-57, late in the third quarter.
"I think it was a combination of both (offense and defense)," Brand said of the moment the Clippers took charge. "We stepped up our defense by contesting every shot, and our offense fed off of our defense."
After Beno Udrih answered to pull San Antonio within four points, the Clippers closed the period with another six-point burst, during which Brand had a pair of short jumpers and Duncan watched from the bench with four fouls.
Cassell, who earlier suffered a dislocated left pinky, had eight points and five assists in the third period, which left the Clippers holding a 69-59 advantage.
He assisted on Vladimir Radmanovic's 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and had back-to-back baskets to make it 76-61 with 10:19 left. Cassell was in good spirits following the game but had the finger taped.
"I went for a steal on (Manu) Ginobili and I think I dislocated my finger on the basketball," Cassell said. "It popped out. I knew there was only one thing I could do. I could pop it back in myself or let the doctor do it, so I did it myself."
Brand and Duncan exchanged baskets with less than four minutes left before Brand drew Duncan's fifth foul with 3:30 to go as chants of "MVP!" rained down from the Staples Center crowd.
"We played great in the first half," Brand said. "But we were still down one. The run at the end of the third quarter gave us some separation and we were very confident after that."
A two-time NBA Most Valuable player and three-times NBA Finals MVP, Duncan watched as Brand split two free throws for a 92-76 lead.
"Sam got on a little run there and Elton was great all night," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They were more physical than us and sharper."
Duncan, whose right eye was red, credited the Clippers with double-teaming him the entire game.
"I got in foul trouble and things just weren't going my way," Duncan said. "I just took my time and tried to be as aggressive as I could and I finally got some shots to go down late in the game where it seemed it didn't matter anymore."
Duncan scored 10 points in the final 7:39, but the Spurs never got closer than nine points in losing for the first time in their last nine meetings with the Clippers.
"They were solid all the way along," Duncan said of the Clippers. "Defensively, we tried to make them make some mistakes and tried to get some turnovers. But they moved the ball well. Elton Brand was incredible tonight. It seemed he didn't miss a shot out there."
Brand made 12-of-24 shots while Duncan was 6-of-14.
"They did a good job on Timmy and made it difficult for us to find people," Popovich said. "They were very aggressive and I think that helped fuel their offense."
Cassell finished with 15 points and 11 assists and Kaman scored 15 points for the Clippers, who had lost two straight and seven of their previous 10.
Tony Parker scored 20 points, Duncan added 16 and Ginobili 15 for San Antonio. Ginobili hit one of the Spurs' five 3-pointers, one night after making five in his club's 12-of-23 effort against the Lakers.
"Defensively, we really showed up tonight," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We did a great job at both ends of the floor. Our offense dictated our defense, and our defense was very solid." Kaman chipped in eight rebounds as the Clippers claimed a 40-28 advantage on the boards.