Showing a new level of resiliency, Cassell led a rally from 13
points down in his first game with the Clippers, as Los Angeles
beat the Seattle SuperSonics 101-93 on Wednesday night.
Cassell won a duel with Seattle's Ray Allen, scoring 35 points,
as the short-handed Clippers rallied in the fourth quarter.
"Like I was saying the whole training camp, this is not going
to be the old Clipper team from the past," Cassell said. "We're
going to play hard for 48 minutes. ... We executed when we needed
to down the stretch and we made shots."
Cassell made three 3-pointers in the final five minutes, leading
the Clippers 37-point fourth quarter charge. His pull-up 18-footer
with 1:43 left gave the Clippers the lead for good at 95-89,
spoiling Bob Weiss' debut as Seattle's coach.
The 37 points for Los Angeles eclipsed its highest scoring
quarter from all of last season of 35.
"Sam is a monster," Clippers' coach Mike Dunleavy said.
"That's what he does, he makes big shots."
Allen scored 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting. Rashard Lewis added
18 for Seattle, but no other Sonics' player reached double figures.
It was Seattle's first loss in a home opener since 1997 when they
were beaten by Dallas.
Down 87-82, Cassell made consecutive 3-pointers to give the
Clippers an 88-87 lead with 3:41 left. Allen and Quinton Ross
exchanged free throws, before Cassell's third 3-pointer. Allen
missed a 3-pointer at the other end, and Cassell answered with his
jumper. He added another fall-away jumper and two free throws in
the final 18 seconds for good measure.
"I can't do 82 games like that," Cassell said. "But if it
takes me hitting shots down the stretch to prevail my team to win
... I did what I had to do."
Los Angeles played without starting forward Corey Maggette,
still hampered by a left hamstring injury. Maggette averaged 23
points in four games against Seattle last season. Ross started in
Maggette's place and finished with 10 points, but it was Singleton
who made the biggest contribution.
In his first NBA game, the former Murray State standout came up
with key baskets, scoring eight points and pulling down six
rebounds in the fourth quarter.
"We wanted it more. We just kept playing hard no matter how
many points we were down," said Singleton, who played the last two
seasons in Italy.
Seattle led 57-55 midway through the third quarter, when Allen
ignited a 14-3 run to build Seattle's lead back to double-digits.
Allen made two 3-pointers, Lewis added another, and Vladimir
Radmanovic capped the run with an emphatic fastbreak dunk, giving
Seattle a 71-58 lead.
Nick Collison scored to open the fourth quarter, giving Seattle
a 77-64 lead. From there, the Clippers scored 16 of the next 18
points. Ross' two free throws gave the Clippers their first lead at
80-79 with 7:23 left.
"I thought we shot ourselves in the foot," Weiss said. "I
thought we had a chance to put them away in the third but we had
too many turnovers. And then Sam came in and took over in the
While the Clippers sizzled in the fourth quarter, Seattle went
cold, making just 4-of-17 shots, 2-for-11 on 3-point attempts.
"We just stopped playing, plain and simple," Allen said.
"Offensively, I don't know what to say."
The Clippers shot nearly 70 percent in the first quarter and 57
percent in the first half, using the hot shooting to overcome an
early 16-4 deficit and pull even at 50-50 at halftime.
Weiss put C Vitaly Potapenko on the inactive list before
Wednesday's game, choosing instead to use newcomer Mikki Moore
because he played last year with the Clippers. Moore did not play.
... Los Angeles was also without Shaun Livingston (back) and Walter
McCarty (thumb). ... French rookie C Johan Petro started for
Seattle, and scored six points in the first five minutes before
picking up two fouls. He played just 13 minutes and had 8 points.