<
>

In foul trouble, Brand snags double-double

12/18/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The uncertainty over Corey Maggette's
sprained right ankle gave Bobby Simmons a reason to turn up his
pregame preparation.

Simmons scored 16 of his career-high 20 points in the first half
to help the Los Angeles Clippers sweep their four-game homestand
with a 93-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

"I wasn't aware that Corey was going to be able to play or not
because it was a gametime decision," Simmons said. "So at the
shootaround, I was concentrating a lot more on making more plays
and getting more shots up."

The three-year veteran from DePaul hadn't scored more than 15
points in any of his 87 games over the previous two seasons with
the Washington Wizards. But that was to be expected.

"I was playing behind Michael Jordan and Jerry Stackhouse in
Washington, so it was hard to get a lot of playing time. But the
minute I did, I tried to make the best of it," Simmons said. "Now
I'm getting more minutes and getting a chance to produce and show
teams what you can do out on the floor."

Maggette, who missed almost all of the fourth quarter in
Monday's 29-point blowout of the New Orleans Hornets, finished with
17 points in 30 minutes.

"I just prayed it would hold up, and it did," Maggette said
while soaking his ankle in a bucket of ice. "I didn't know if I
was going to play or not, but my team needed me and I wanted to do
what I could to help them."

Elton Brand had 15 points and 16 rebounds after getting in early
foul trouble, and Chris Wilcox added 16 for Los Angeles.

The Clippers swept a homestand of more than three games for only
the third time since the team moved from San Diego to Los Angeles
in 1984 -- and the first time since Oct. 26-Nov. 2, 1985. It's also
the first time they have had two winning streaks of more than three
games in the same season since 1996-97. Their longest winning
streak last season was three.

Dan Gadzuric scored 16 points for the Bucks, who shot just 39.5
percent from the field after a season-best 58.2-percent effort
Tuesday night in a victory at Portland, and squandered an
opportunity to reach the .500 mark.

"This was probably the worst-shooting game we've had all year
long," said Bucks leading scorer Michael Redd, who was 3-for-15
and finished with six points. "Just last night we shot the ball
real well, but tonight we couldn't make anything. That's the
frustrating thing about it."

Joe Smith, wearing dark glasses for the second straight game to
protect a corneal abrasion in his left eye, had seven points and 12
rebounds for the Bucks.

The Clippers took a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter
for the third straight game and fifth time this season, before
extending their 12-point margin to 84-61 with a 15-2 run.

Wilcox scored six points during the rally, ending it by slamming
home a missed layup by Marko Jaric with 8:09 to play. The Bucks got
no closer than eight in the final minute after a 20-7 run.

All of the Bucks' 14 losses this season have been by 10 points
or fewer.

"That's very encouraging, that we're in every game," Redd
said. "Unfortunately, we've got 14 losses. But if we continue to
play tough for 48 minutes, we have a chance every game."

Simmons led all scorers in the first half to help Los Angeles
build a 50-38 lead. His 19-foot jumper and three-point play capped
a 12-0 run that increased the Clippers' four-point advantage to
42-27 with 4:11 left in the half.

"I've been telling Bobby to be more aggressive," Maggette
said. "He has a lot of opportunities to score, so he should go out
there and shoot the ball and make some shots. Tonight he was
aggressive on the offensive end as well as the defensive end and he
got on a roll."

Coming off their most lopsided victory in more than two years,
the Clippers got off to a ragged start -- except for Simmons and
Maggette. Brand picked up two fouls in the first 3:40, Quentin
Richardson made one of seven shots in the half, and the Clippers
committed eight of their season-high 22 turnovers in the opening
quarter.

The Bucks weren't much better. Redd, who entered with a 22.8
scoring average, missed his first five shots and 10 of his first
11.

Game notes
The Clippers have won their last four games against the
Bucks in Los Angeles, but have lost the last five meetings in
Milwaukee. ... Richardson finished with two points on 1-for-10
shooting. ... The Bucks are 0-9 when they've trailed after three
quarters. ... The Clippers are 5-1 against Eastern Conference teams
since losing to the Bucks last April 9 at Milwaukee.