Clippers lose fifth straight

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Dan Dickau was the only healthy point guard
in uniform for the New Orleans Hornets -- and the only one they

Dickau capped a career-high 27-point outing with a pair of
3-pointers inside the last 18 seconds, leading New Orleans to an
88-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

"It's any player's dream -- you want to play as many minutes as
you can," said Dickau, who logged 42 minutes, had eight assists
and scored 17 in the fourth quarter. "I felt good coming down the
stretch, I felt fresh. ... I just wanted to keep shooting when I
was open."

Dickau was fourth on Dallas' depth chart when the Hornets
acquired him in exchange for Darrell Armstrong on Dec. 3. But he
became one of only two point guards on New Orleans' roster Friday
when Junior Harrington was cut to make room for three front court
players acquired in another deal that sent Jim Jackson to Phoenix.

Regular starting point guard Baron Davis, who bruised his right
ankle a week ago in Toronto, missed his third straight full game
against the Clippers, meaning Dickau, in less than two months, had
gone from disposable in Dallas to indispensable for New Orleans
(7-32), which has now won five games this month.

"That's one of things in the NBA -- when you're not playing you
can't get too discouraged or too frustrated. You keep working and
you're going to get an opportunity eventually," said Dickau, who
has averaged 12.8 points with New Orleans.

Dickau tied the game with 39.7 seconds to go after drawing a
foul on a drive and hitting his first free throw. He missed the
second, but Hornets forward P.J. Brown ran down a long rebound,
diving over the sideline to get the ball back to Dickau. The
diminutive Dickau let some time run off the clock before burying a
straightaway 3.

The Clippers tied the game on Bobby Simmons' high, arching 3
with 10.3 to go. But Dickau came back with another straightaway 3
over Mikki Moore with 2.1 seconds remaining. Several Hornets -- and
even Simmons -- laughed in seeming disbelief as the crowd roared.

"He took it from about three feet beyond the 3. I feel like I
played good defense," Moore said. "He just shot an unbelievable

Simmons got one more shot to tie it at the buzzer, but his
off-balance shot from well behind the 3-point line missed the rim
as the Clippers lost their fifth straight game.

Lee Nailon scored 22 points -- his fifth straight game with 20 or
more -- to help New Orleans win its fourth in a row at home. J.R.
Smith scored 12 and Rodney Rogers 11, with both hitting crucial
3-pointers in the final five minutes. Chris Andersen had 10
rebounds for New Orleans.

Elton Brand led Los Angeles with 28 points and 11 rebounds for
his sixth double-double in a row. Simmons finished with 17, while
Chris Kaman and Quinton Ross each scored 13. Rick Brunson had 12

Darrick Martin's 3 capped a 10-0 run that gave the Clippers a
72-68 lead with about seven minutes remaining. Then Martin hit
another jumper, and Los Angeles got the lead up to 75-70.

But the Hornets stormed back with consecutive 3s from Smith and
Dickau, followed by Dickau's driving floater to put the Hornets
ahead 78-75. The lead then changed three more times before Dickau
put the Hornets ahead for good.

"We knew they would have a lot of fight in them ... but we
didn't think we'd lose," Brand said.

Brand scored 19 in the first half and his drive on Brown for a
three-point play capped a 7-1 run that gave the Clippers a 44-42
lead late in the second quarter. After Simmons' 18-foot jumper made
it 46-42, Smith made one of two free throws to cut it to 46-43 at
the half.

Game notes
Corey Maggette, who has a sore left foot, sat out for the
Clippers, who already were without Marko Jaric, Shaun Livingston,
Chris Wilcox and Kerry Kittles. In addition to Davis, New Orleans
also was without Jamaal Magloire, David West and Jamal Mashburn,
who is out for the season. ... The Hornets three newest players --
Casey Jacobsen, Maceij Lampe and Jackson Vroman -- all were in
uniform one day after being acquired in a trade from Phoenix. They
came to New Orleans in exchange for Jackson, who refused to play
for the Hornets since being traded from Houston on Dec. 27.
Jacobsen was the only one to see action when he entered the game in
the second quarter. He got his only point on a free throw.