Los Angeles Clippers 118, Los Angeles Lakers 110

LOS ANGELES, April 12 (AP) -- After scoring a career-high 39 points in the Los Angeles Clippers' most important game of the season, Corey Maggette said he was just grateful to be on the winning side.

And upset about missing seven free throws.

Maggette scored 10 points and Sam Cassell added eight during a 26-8 run to finish the game, giving the Clippers a 118-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

The Clippers won despite Kobe Bryant's 50 points, but Bryant was held scoreless after making two foul shots with 8:46 remaining to give the Lakers a 102-92 lead.

Elton Brand added 32 points for the Clippers (38-40), who snapped a three-game losing streak and moved into a tie with Golden State for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference with four games remaining. Both teams trail the seventh-place Lakers by 1˝ games.

Maggette didn't realize he had reached a career high, but said: "I should have had 46,'' referring to his 17-of-24 performance at the foul line.

"It just feels good to win, man,'' he added. "We needed it.''

As far as Bryant was concerned, Maggette said: "Kobe ran out of gas. He played 48 minutes.''

Bryant didn't agree.

"I felt fine physically. I felt like I could go the distance,'' said Bryant, who missed his last six field goal attempts. "I didn't feel like my legs were heavy. I didn't feel tired at all. They just double-teamed me and triple-teamed me. You've got the advantage when that happens. But we didn't make the plays and they did.''

Bryant's nine 50-point games this season are the most in the NBA since Wilt Chamberlain scored at least 50 nine times in the 1964-65 season. Chamberlain averaged a record 50.4 points three years earlier.

Bryant shot 17-of-33 from the floor and made all 15 of his free throws. He also had nine rebounds.

Maggette, whose previous career high was 38 points, shot 10-of-15 from the field. He also had eight rebounds and nine assists to match his career high. Brand scored 22 of his points after halftime, and added 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Cassell returned after missing four games because of back spasms, and didn't appear comfortable while scoring two points in six first-half minutes. It was a different story in the second half, when he played 14 minutes, including all but 51 seconds of the fourth quarter.

"I had to get warmed up,'' he said. "This is strange for me, coming off the bench. I don't mind having the ball down the stretch. I can be a decoy and I can make a shot.

"It was a big win for us.''

When asked how he felt as he sat in front of his locker, the 37-year-old veteran broke into a wide grin and said: "Ask me tomorrow.''

Smush Parker had 19 points and eight assists and Maurice Evans scored 11 for the Lakers, who led by as many as 17 points before losing for the seventh time in nine games.

"We got a lead and I guess we got comfortable,'' Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "We knew we were playing a team that was desperate. When you're playing a team that's desperate, you can't let up.''

Lakers coach Phil Jackson had said beforehand that both teams were desperate for a win. The Clippers were more desperate, and it showed down the stretch.

After Bryant scored his last points, Brand made a three-point play to trigger a 10-0 run that Maggette capped with another three-point play, tying the game with 6:34 to play.

Andrew Bynum's foul shot put the Lakers back on top before Tim Thomas' 3-pointer with 5:41 left gave the Clippers a 105-103 lead - their first since early in the second quarter. Baskets by Thomas and Cassell made it 109-103 and completed a 16-1 spurt.

A 3-pointer by Parker - the Lakers first basket in nearly six minutes - drew the Lakers within three, but three foul shots by Maggette extended the Clippers' lead to six points with 2:04 to go, and the Lakers weren't closer than five after that.

Notes: Lakers C Kwame Brown missed his fifth game with a bone bruise in his left ankle. It's unclear when he'll return, although Jackson expressed the hope that it will be before the regular season ends next Wednesday. ... Lakers F Vladimir Radmanovic played for the first time since separating his right shoulder during the All-Star break, and went scoreless in 2 minutes. ... The Clippers are trying to qualify for the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992-93. ... Jordan Farmar played in his third personal doubleheader this month, getting six points and three assists in 21 minutes for the Lakers' Development League affiliate Thursday afternoon and going scoreless with two assists in five minutes for the Lakers at night. ... Official Dan Crawford called a technical foul on Bryant late in the first quarter. ... The crosstown rivals split their season series 2-2 for the third straight year.

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