Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/21

Game 1: Tuesday, December 21st
Game 2: Saturday, January 22nd
Game 3: Saturday, April 16th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th

Hornets 89

(18-62, 7-34 away)

Clippers 94

(36-44, 27-14 home)

    Coverage: FSPI

    7:30 PM ET, April 16, 2005

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 18 23 28 2089
    LAC 26 25 23 2094

    Top Performers

    NO: D. Dickau 17 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    LAC: E. Brand 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Clippers match best home mark in 12 years

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Clippers didn't make the playoffs. Again. But they turned out to be the best they've been at home in 12 years.

    Bobby Simmons scored 21 points, Elton Brand added 20 and the Clippers beat the New Orleans Hornets 94-89 on Saturday night to finish 27-14 at Staples Center, tying the mark they compiled in 1992-93 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

    "It means a lot," rookie Shaun Livingston said. "We're making a home court that guys can't come into and win."

    Especially the Hornets. They fell to 7-34 on the road, worst in the Western Conference.

    "It has been horrible," P.J. Brown said. "It was the same old story. It came down to the last 4 or 5 minutes and not being able to close out because of turnovers and things like that."

    More importantly for their long-suffering fans, the Clippers moved 1½ games ahead of the idle Lakers in the Western Conference standings. They haven't finished ahead of the Lakers in 12 years. The Clippers have two games remaining; the Lakers three.

    "I heard a lot of office bets that a few of my fans made. They're telling me, `We bet you guys finish better than the Lakers. I always want them to get paid," Brand said. "Twenty-seven home wins with a slew of overtime games and close games that we lost here, that's great for anybody's standards."

    J.R. Smith and Dan Dickau scored 17 points each to lead New Orleans, which lost its seventh in a row. Lee Nailon added 16 points.

    Some things haven't changed for the Clippers, though. They blew all of a 17-point first-half lead by the fourth quarter.

    "We got to learn and hopefully we mature," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We aren't doing a good job of being disciplined enough."

    The Hornets tied it at 80 on a 3-pointer by Casey Jacobsen with 8½ minutes remaining. Los Angeles went up by four points before Bostjan Nachbar tied it at 83 on a three-point play.

    This time, the Clippers' rally stuck. They outscored New Orleans 11-6 to end the game and shot 53 percent.

    "Let the lead slip away. We were kind of hurting with our bench, but we got the `W' and that's the most important thing," Brand said.

    Brand scored and Simmons had three straight points for an 88-83 lead with 2:40 to play.

    Dickau hit two free throws to get the Hornets within three. Then they committed a shot-clock violation and bobbled the ball around on another possession before fouling Simmons, who hit both for a 90-85 lead with 1:06 left.

    Smith fouled Marko Jaric, who made both and stretched the Clippers' lead to 92-85. Jaric finished with 15 points.

    The teams have played three close games so far, with the Clippers winning at home in double overtime and the Hornets winning at home on Dickau's last-second 3-pointer.

    Game notes

    Clippers C Chris Kaman didn't play because of back spasms. ... Hornets F Chris Andersen (sprained right ankle), F George Lynch (sore right knee) and C Jamaal Magloire (back spasms) also sat out. ... Los Angeles leads the season series 2-1. The teams play their regular-season finales against each other Wednesday night in New Orleans. ... The Clippers' best home record since moving to Los Angeles was 29-12 in 1991-92. ... The Hornets had lost their previous three road games by 17.7 points. ... The announced crowd of 19,060 was the Clippers' eighth sellout this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 94
    FGM-FGA 29-73 (.397) 38-71 (.535)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 0-3 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 25-29 (.862) 18-25 (.720)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-37 8-34
    Assists 17 29
    Turnovers 19 14
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 1 3
    Fast Break Points 10 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 28 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 17

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Los Angeles
    Dan Dickau Dickau
    Points: 17
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0