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L.A. squanders 26-point lead but holds on

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- While no lead seems safe, the Los Angeles
Clippers are becoming more adept at holding onto an advantage when
it matters most.

Corey Maggette scored 34 points and sent Milwaukee to its their
seventh straight road loss with a 116-108 victory on Wednesday
night -- but not before the stubborn Bucks nearly erased a 26-point
deficit.

"Our guys have always been competitive," Milwaukee coach Terry
Porter said. "Every game this year when we've gotten down, we've
continued to fight. And tonight was really no different.

"But there was just too much energy wasted to get back in it,
and we didn't get the two or three possessions that we really
needed to get back over the hump."

Elton Brand had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers. He
scored a season-high 31 points against the Bucks on Feb. 4 in a
two-point loss at Milwaukee, triggering an eight-game losing streak
that torpedoed the Clippers' playoff aspirations.

The Bucks, who fell behind 46-20 with 8:51 left in the second
quarter, got as close as 104-98 with a 15-4 run led by Anthony
Goldwire and Zaza Pachulia.

"We did many things well to get a big lead, but then we did
many things poorly to lose it. But even when it got down to eight,
we were still confident," Brand said.

Goldwire, starting his second straight game at point guard while
Mo Williams nursed a bruised left knee, helped fuel the rally with
seven of his 13 points. Redd made three free throws after getting
fouled by Quinton Ross on a 3-point shot, and Pachulia's tip-in
made it a six-point game with 2:52 left.

"You are never out of it until it is over," Bucks forward
Michael Redd said. "We have seen games that are never over in the
NBA too many times."

Maggette helped seal the win with a layup and a 3-pointer, and
Brand hit a 14-footer that restored the Clippers' double-digit lead
with 1:04 left.

Redd scored 31 points for the Bucks, who have lost six of eight
overall. They are 0-13 on the road against Western Conference teams
this season and 2-25 over two seasons.

Los Angeles never trailed in beating Milwaukee at home for the
fifth straight time and earning a split of the two-game season
series. They had a season-high 34 assists and tied a season best
for points in a half with 66 before intermission.

Bobby Simmons, the only player to appear in all 68 games for the
Clippers, came off the bench for the first time this season and
scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. He was playing
his second straight game with a sore left leg after getting kicked
during Saturday's overtime loss against Sacramento.

Injury-plagued Clippers guard Shawn Livingston, the fourth
overall pick in the draft, made his first NBA start after seeing
action as a reserve in 15 previous games. He had two points and a
career-high 11 assists in 25 minutes.

Livingston had four assists, a layup and two rebounds during the
Clippers' game-opening 11-4 run. They extended the margin to 46-20,
outscoring Milwaukee 25-9 during a 7:11 span with Simmons
contributing a 3-pointer and a pair of 20-footers.

"It was an uphill battle for us from that point on, but our
guys really did a great job regrouping in the second half," Porter
said. "We had a lot more energy and picked it up defensively. We
just tried cutting into the lead possession by possession and
getting ourselves within striking distance."

Bucks reserve center Toni Kukoc responded with 13 points during
a 5:19 stretch, but it hardly made a dent as Milwaukee cut just
five points off the Clippers' 26-point lead.

The largest deficit the Bucks have overcome in a victory this
season was 13 points, on Nov. 10 against Charlotte and March 8
against Atlanta.

Game notes
Hall of Famer Moses Malone, who played for both franchises,
turned 50 on Wednesday. Malone made his NBA debut in 1976 with the
Buffalo Braves -- two seasons before they became the San Diego
Clippers -- and also spent two seasons with the Bucks. He is fifth
on the career scoring list. ... The biggest comeback in Bucks
history was on Nov. 25, 1977 in Atlanta, when they erased a
29-point deficit with a 35-4 run in the final 8:43 and beat the
Hawks 117-115. ... The Clippers have a chance to finish ahead of
the Lakers in the Pacific Division standings for only the third
time since moving to Los Angeles in 1984-85. They trail their
intracity rivals by 1½ games with four weeks remaining. Clippers
coach Mike Dunleavy coached the Lakers the first time they finished
behind the Clippers (1991-92). ... Chris Kaman had 13 points and 10
rebounds. The Clippers are 10-3 when he records double digits in
both categories. ... Milwaukee hasn't won on the road since beating
Charlotte 112-102 on Feb. 22 with an NBA season-high 37 assists.