Brand scored 10 of his 23 points during a 2:11 span of the
fourth quarter, and the Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks 97-87
Monday night to end a five-game slide.
"I really wanted to win this game -- especially with the tough
losses that we've had," Brand said. "I felt I could have done
more late in the game to win those, so I wanted to do something
tonight. We know we're good and we know we can play, so it was good
to get this one against a quality opponent."
The Clippers, who beat Dallas for only the fifth time in the
last 25 meetings, also snapped the Mavericks' five-game winning
streak. Bobby Simmons added 21 points, and Brand and Chris Kaman
each had 12 rebounds.
Los Angeles won without leading scorer Corey Maggette, who
missed his second game because of a sore left foot. Kerry Kittles
sat out his fourth straight game with a groin strain.
Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points for Dallas. With Jerry Stackhouse
starting for just the third time this season because of Josh
Howard's back spasms, the Mavericks' reserves did not make a field
goal until Calvin Booth's dunk with 1:22 left. Stackhouse finished
with 18 points, after averaging 15.3 in his 32 games off the bench.
"We didn't come in here and take the Clippers lightly,"
Stackhouse said. "They were a hot-shooting team. They moved the
ball to open guys and made their shots all night. As the game went
on and they got a little more of a lead, their confidence just
started to grow."
Dallas center Erick Dampier, playing on a sore left knee, had 13
points on 4-for-10 shooting after hitting at a 59 percent clip over
his previous 13 games. The Mavericks are 3-1 with Avery Johnson
filling in as head coach for Don Nelson, who is recovering from
surgery on his right shoulder last Thursday.
Michael Finley, who entered shooting a career-low 38.3 percent
from the field, was 0-for-5 in the first half and 4-for-13
altogether. He missed his first eight shots before making a
22-footer from the right of the key with 9:46 left, and finished
with 11 points.
Finley followed his long-awaited first basket with a 3-pointer
69 seconds later, helping trim a 17-point Dallas deficit to 76-66
with 8:37 to play. But that was as close as the Mavericks got.
Brand hit a 19-footer, then added a layup and a 12-foot jumper
before sinking four free throws for an 89-72 cushion with 4:46
"Toward the end, Mike (coach Mike Dunleavy) said we're going to
run certain plays and keep running them. So I either kept making
buckets or getting fouled," Brand said.
"They started off with a zone and they were collapsing and gave
us a lot of double-teams, so I just shared the rock. The guys hit
open shots, and when that happened, it opened it up for me and
Chris Kaman to try to move around the paint."
The Clippers were 6-for-12 from 3-point range, after going
0-for-6 in their previous meeting with Dallas. The Mavericks
entered the game holding opponents to an NBA-best 30.8 percentage
from behind the arc, after finishing 25th in the league last
"They were double-teaming in the post, especially on that left
block, so we whipped it around," Brand said. "Rick Brunson hit
four of the six 3s and Marko Jaric hit the other two. That's what
we need out of those guys."
Simmons, the only player to start all 41 games for the Clippers,
powered them to a 53-38 halftime lead with 15 points. They shot
52.6 percent in the half and finished it with a 7-0 spurt while
Kaman was on the bench with three fouls.
Jaric had nine points in 23 minutes after missing the Clippers'
previous 17 games with a stress fracture in his right foot. He made
his first three shots, including consecutive 3-pointers 25 seconds
apart to cap a 10-0 run and give Los Angeles a 33-23 lead two
minutes into the second quarter.
"I just tried to put a little energy into the team, but my
stamina wasn't very good," Jaric said. "I practiced individually
the last seven days, but we never had time to practice five-on-five
because we had a tough schedule. So, basically, I came straight
into the game after being out a month and a half."
The Clippers were 7-10 in Jaric's absence. To make room for
him, they placed C Mamadou N'Diaye on the injured list with back
spasms. ... The Mavericks are 12-4 since Jason Terry replaced
rookie Devin Harris in the starting lineup on Dec. 18.