The Clippers finished their preseason schedule 6-2, their best
mark since the franchise left Buffalo after the 1977-78 season.
They will open the regular season next Wednesday night on the road
against the Sonics, who will conclude their exhibition schedule
Friday night against Portland at Spokane, Wash.
The Clippers scored the last seven points of the first half to
open up a 46-33 lead, their biggest of the game. Seattle sliced the
margin to 54-51 with a 9-0 run capped by Lewis' dunk with 5:15 left
in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Sonics got until
the final minute as the Clippers maintained the lead the rest of
Rookie forward Boniface Ndong, competing for the Clippers' final
roster spot with Rodney White, made an 18-footer and a three-point
play 44 seconds apart to increase Los Angeles' lead to 83-71 with
The Sonics responded with seven straight points, including a
3-pointer by Allen, and rookie center Johan Petro's layup narrowed
the gap to 89-86 with 1:23 to go. But Quinton Ross helped thwart
Seattle's comeback attempt by hitting a 21-footer with 47 seconds
left, and the Clippers clinched it at the foul line.
Yuta Tabuse, the 5-foot-9 guard from Japan who signed with the
Clippers as a free agent on Sept. 15, scored all eight of his
points during a 3:47 span of the fourth quarter to give them a
78-70 lead with 6:47 to play.
Corey Maggette, the Clippers' leading scorer last season, sat
out again with a strained left hamstring that may keep him out of
the season opener. Backup point guard Shaun Livingston's back
injury will keep him sidelined at least six more weeks.
The Sonics played without former Clippers guard Rick Brunson,
who has inflammation in his left heel. Mikki Moore, another
ex-Clipper who signed in August as a free agent, played eight
scoreless minutes with a sore left knee that had kept him out of
all but one other exhibition game.
Seattle center Vitaly Potapenko has missed the entire preseason
with strained left hamstring and is questionable for opening night.
If he can't start, Petro, the team's No.1 draft pick, would likely
take his place.