Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/11

Game 1: Friday, February 11th
Game 2: Friday, March 25th

Wizards 94

(37-30, 13-21 away)

Clippers 98

(32-37, 25-13 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 25, 2005

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 18 21 18 3794
    LAC 28 24 19 2798

    Top Performers

    WSH: G. Arenas 33 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    LAC: E. Brand 25 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    L.A. squanders 17-point lead in victory

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers' three straight wire-to-wire victories weren't as easy as they should have been.

    They nearly got caught at the wire in all three home games after stumbling badly down the stretch.

    Corey Maggette scored 13 of his 26 points in the final nine minutes and the Clippers overcame 20 turnovers, escaping Staples Center with a 98-94 victory over the stubborn Washington Wizards on Friday night after nearly blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.

    "We want to make sure we keep everything interesting for the fans and the TV audience," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.

    "We did have that lapse in the fourth quarter where we didn't do a good enough job defensively. We had some miscues with the basketball and they hit some big shots. But ultimately, the good work that we did prior to that gave us a big enough cushion that we could absorb it."

    On Monday night, the Clippers led Portland by 13 points with 8:12 remaining and needed four free throws in the final 44.5 seconds to clinch it, after the Trail Blazers cut the margin to five with less than a minute to go.

    On Wednesday night, they led Milwaukee by 26 points in the second quarter, by 19 at the start of the fourth, and watched the Bucks climb within six with 2:20 remaining before holding on.

    This time, the Clippers used the same recipe for victory. They went ahead 74-57 early in the fourth, and led 82-65 with 8:24 to play before Washington closed to 92-91 with a 22-8 run capped by Laron Profit's 3-pointer with 27.7 seconds to go.

    "They started to come back because they hit shots," Maggette said. "They had guys who don't even shoot 3s start hitting 3s."

    Washington's last three baskets were 3-pointers. But Elton Brand responded with a driving layup, Profit missed a tying 3-point attempt with 14 seconds left and Maggette sank two free throws for a 96-91 lead.

    Damone Brown's 3-pointer made it a two-point game with 7.7 seconds on the clock, but Maggette sank two more free throws and the Wizards finally ran out of time.

    "It was a great gutsy effort," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "It was too bad that we didn't have that energy in the beginning of the game, or through most stretches of the game. We didn't play winning basketball. We have to play playoff basketball."

    Brand had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who lost their previous five games against the Wizards. Zeljko Rebraca tied a season high with 19 points in 25 minutes, and Chris Kaman had 13 rebounds.

    Point guard Marko Jaric, in his third game back after missing the previous three with a hip pointer, re-aggravated the injury after just 5:09 on the court and left the game for good less than a minute into the second quarter.

    Gilbert Arenas scored 33 points and Larry Hughes had 21 for Washington. The Wizards, coming off a one-point victory at Utah on Thursday, haven't won consecutive games since beating the Clippers 94-91 on Feb. 11 at Washington for their fourth straight.

    Kwame Brown, who sat out Washington's previous two games because of the flu, missed his first three shots before getting in early foul trouble and finished with six points in 25 minutes.

    The Wizards, whose 25-57 record last season was the second-worst in the league, are 37-30 and are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They hold a one-game lead over Chicago and a 1½-game edge over Cleveland in the battle for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and home court advantage in the first round.

    Game notes

    The Clippers waived 14-year veteran G Kenny Anderson, who signed with them on Feb. 28 after he was waived by Atlanta. ... In their two wins against the Clippers last season, the Wizards opened the first game with a 25-3 run and the second one with a 22-6 spurt. This season, they didn't lead by more than nine points in either game. ... The Clippers are 10-1 when they hold their opponent under 40 points in the first half. The only loss was to San Antonio. ... The Clippers are 25-16 at home, tying their best mark in six seasons at Staples Center with three games remaining. Their best home record since moving to Los Angeles 21 years ago is 29-12 (1991-92). ... The Clippers are just a half-game behind the Lakers in the Western Conference standings. ... Arenas, who came in with a career-high 25.4 scoring average, is trying to become the first player to average at least 25 points in a season for Washington since Bernard King in 1990-91 (28.4).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 98
    FGM-FGA 37-83 (.446) 36-78 (.462)
    3PM-3PA 6-26 (.231) 2-7 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 14-21 (.667) 24-31 (.774)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-39 12-42
    Assists 20 22
    Turnovers 19 20
    Steals 11 9
    Blocks 3 3
    Fast Break Points 8 0
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 18 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 0 17

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Gilbert Arenas Arenas
    Points: 33
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 25
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3