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With Brand sidelined, Mobley, Clippers ease past Magic

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Clippers proved they can win without
Elton Brand.

Cuttino Mobley led four players in double figures with 18 points
and Los Angeles beat Orlando 90-73 Tuesday night, sending the Magic
to their fifth straight road loss.

Brand missed his first game of the season because of a right hip
bruise that occurred Dec. 23 at Charlotte. Coach Mike Dunleavy said
Brand likely would return later this week.

"It's huge," Mobley said about winning without their franchise
player. "We had to concentrate on defense. We knew where to get
the ball and take care of the ball. Nobody was doing anything
extra."

Brand is averaging 10.7 rebounds, and Chris Wilcox grabbed a
career-high 14 while making his first start of the season in
Brand's place. Sam Cassell added 13 points and Daniel Ewing had 10,
helping the Clippers end losing streaks of two straight overall and
three in a row at home.

The Clippers already are without Corey Maggette, whose torn left
foot ligament could keep him out up to two months.

"When you go into a game without your top two scorers, you're
giving up 46 points, you've got to figure out where you're going to
get it," Dunleavy said. "Our guys, they did a good job
defensively to help us a great deal."

Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 18 points -- bettering his 12.3
average -- and DeShawn Stevenson added 13. Tony Battie had 13
rebounds.

Steve Francis was held to 3-for-16 shooting for 10 points, seven
below his average.

"I didn't expect us to play that bad," he said. "It was more
us turning the ball over, missing shots and getting fouls at times
when we really didn't need them."

The Magic committed 18 turnovers to Los Angeles' nine.

"We made more mistakes than they did and they capitalized,"
Battie said. "Whenever you turn the ball over like that, it gives
them more opportunities to score and gives us less opportunities.
We didn't do a good job of managing the basketball."

Down by 11 going into the fourth, the Magic got a 3-pointer from
Stevenson and a jumper by Hedo Turkoglu to trail 70-64.

James Singleton scored on two straight dunks, pushing the
Clippers' lead back to double digits with 9½ minutes left. Shaun
Livingston hit a free throw and Mobley made a driving layup,
capping a seven-point run by the Clippers with 7:40 remaining.

"He really changed the game around," Orlando coach Brian Hill
said about Singleton, who finished with nine points and 11
rebounds.

"It was tough at that point, when he had a follow-up dunk and a
fast-break dunk," Francis said. "It was kind of hard for us to
fight back. We got down and never were able to make a run."

Both teams fell into a spotty shooting stretch, but Livingston
ran off six straight points that extended the Clippers' lead to
83-68 with 3:53 left.

Los Angeles took a five-point lead into the second half and
stretched it from there. Chris Kaman's driving hook gave the
Clippers a 10-point lead. Kaman finished with 15 points.

"We got to keep going," Kaman said about Brand's absence. "It
was more of a team game. Nobody went off for 30 points. We all
played steady."

Later, when the Magic got within five, Cassell took over. He
scored on consecutive jumpers, then made a free throw before Mobley
hit six straight from the line for a 68-57 lead with less than a
minute to go.

Orlando was held to two field goals over the final 3:43 of the
third.

The Clippers opened the second quarter on a 19-4 run in which
Mobley, Wilcox, Kaman and Quinton Ross scored all their points to
take a 36-32 lead. Orlando was held to 12 points in the period
after shooting 29 percent.

Game notes
Orlando F Grant Hill missed his second straight game with a
strained groin. ... The Magic got C Kelvin Cato back from a bruised
left shoulder. ... The Clippers were 0-for-3 from the 3-point line.
... Free agent F Kaniel Dickens signed a 10-day contract with the
Clippers earlier Tuesday. He played three games with Dallas earlier
this season before being released.