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Brand scores 31, pulls down 13 boards in Clippers win

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Elton Brand's latest double-double ended
Washington's unbeaten start.

Brand scored 31 points on 14 of 18 shooting and grabbed 13
rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers handed the Wizards their
first loss of the season with a 102-97 victory Wednesday night.

Brand's double-double was the 181st of his career, tying him
with Loy Vaught for the Clippers' franchise record.

"They've got some big, talented guys who love to bang, so I was
having to fight for every shot," Brand said. "I was hitting them,
but I had to fight for every one.

"Coach was calling my number. If he keeps calling those plays,
I'm going to keep putting them up, for sure."

Corey Maggette finished with 20 points, six rebounds and three
assists. Cuttino Mobley made the go-ahead basket and added 15
points and six assists for the Clippers.

The talk in the Clippers' locker room, however, was about Brand.

"You know what his game was tonight, it was spectacular,"
Maggette said. "He did everything tonight. That's what great
players do.

"I know it's only our fourth game in, but I think this is an
opportunity this year for him to make the All-Star team again
cleanly without all the dilly-dally. We just need to keep this up
and play together as a team."

Forward Antawn Jamison blamed the Wizards' lack of defensive
intensity for the loss, but he wasn't taking anything away from
Brand's effort.

"We didn't play smart and we didn't defend at all," Jamison
said. "Those are the things that we did the first three nights and
it's hard to explain why all of a sudden it happened tonight.

"Elton was feeling it. That's why he's one of the best forwards
in the league. In my mind, he's a three- or four-time All-Star. He
was the major reason why they won tonight. He did it on the
offensive end and the defensive end, and he did it unselfishly,
too. He just took his time and picked us apart."

Reserve Caron Butler, who missed the previous two games with a
bruised left thigh, led the Wizards with 19 points.

"It was tough not being out there with my guys on Saturday, so
it felt great to be out there with them tonight," Butler said.
"Unfortunately, this one didn't end the way we wanted it to, so I
can't say that my debut here was a success."

Gilbert Arenas added 18 points and 10 assists for the Wizards.

"We lost, so I think we need to keep the score in the 80s next
time," Arenas said of the Wizards, who allowed a league-low 83.3
points in their first three games. "We just didn't make the plays
down there in the end that we did in the last three games."

Mobley's follow shot gave the Clippers a 98-97 lead with 39
seconds remaining.

"Sam Cassell and I came here to help this team out," Mobley
said. "We are here to help the maturity level. When there are four
minutes left in a game, we close games out."

After Washington's Chucky Atkins missed a shot from the corner,
Maggette, making his season debut, made two free throws that gave
the Clippers a 100-97 lead with 23 seconds to go.

"Corey did not miss a beat," Brand said. "He got out there
and hit his jump shots. If he was winded, we could not tell. It was
as if he had been there for all the previous games."

The Wizards had another chance to tie, but Arenas was called for
a double-dribble with 16 seconds left. Maggette's slam with 11
seconds left punctuated the Clippers' victory and marked the first
time in four games the Wizards have allowed more than 100 points.

Butler's three-point play over Chris Wilcox gave the Wizards a
91-89 lead with 4:08 remaining. Mobley responded with back-to-back
baskets that gave the Clippers a 94-91 lead with 3:14 left.

Brand scored nine straight points to keep the Clippers close
late in the third quarter.

Jarvis Hayes and Arenas made back-to-back 3-pointers and Jared
Jeffries added a layup that gave the Wizards a 65-62 lead with 7:01
left in the third. That was Washington's largest lead of the first
three quarters.

The Clippers led by as many as seven points in the first half,
during which the Wizards' largest lead was two.

Game notes
Entering Wednesday's game, nine Wizards were averaging at
least 18 minutes. ... Clippers guard Shaun Livingston missed the
game with a lower back injury ... The Wizards' home game Friday
against Sacramento has been moved from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ...
Wizards owners Abe and Irene Pollin are in their 42nd year at the
franchise's helm, making them the longest-tenured owners in the
NBA.