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Cassell's late 3s give Clippers fourth straight win

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers are playing so well
that they can't wait for their next road game.

Who cares that it's at Detroit?

Sam Cassell shook off a poor game to hit consecutive 3-pointers
in the final two minutes, including the go-ahead one, and the
Clippers beat the New York Knicks 85-82 Tuesday night for their
fourth straight victory.

Elton Brand scored 25 points, nine in the fourth quarter, and
grabbed 12 rebounds as the Clippers improved to 4-1 on their
six-game road trip that ends Wednesday night at Detroit. They have
won nine of 10 overall.

"If we want to contend with the upper-echelon teams, then we
have to play well tomorrow and expect to win," said Brand, who
also had four of his five blocked shots in the fourth quarter.
"They're going to be revved up at home, so we got to bring it."

Cassell was quiet for most of the game and finished with only 13
points. Before his late surge the most energy he showed was when he
was hit with a technical foul that was taken away by another
referee.

But when it came to the closing minutes, he and the Clippers
outplayed -- and outsmarted -- the dismal Knicks.

"At that time, it doesn't matter what he's shooting -- 0-for-10,
0-for-20 -- he's going to knock down a big shot for us," Brand
said.

Jalen Rose scored 23 points in his second game for the Knicks,
who have lost six straight and 12 of 13, but he couldn't get the
ball in from the sideline with the Knicks trailing by one point
with 2.2 seconds left.

That's because the Clippers knew the play as well as the Knicks
did.

"Our coaching staff did do a great job," Clippers coach Mike
Dunleavy said. "We knew that play was coming."

New York dropped to 0-6 this season without starting point guard
Stephon Marbury.

New York led 78-77 after Jamal Crawford's basket with 2:48 to
play, but Cassell drilled a 3 about a minute later for an 80-78
lead. He missed on the next possession, but got the ball back after
an offensive rebound and made another 3 from the corner with 1:13
remaining to extend the lead to five points.

Cassell explained the second 3-pointer in his own unique way.

"Chris Kaman made a valiant effort trying to get the offensive
rebound," Cassell said. "The ball some kind of way went to the
corner. I saved it and they went away from me. I was in the corner
-- that's the easiest 3 on the court. I just launched it.

"Cat (Cuttino Mobley) thought I was crazy for shooting it. I
said, 'Cat, I might not get me a better shot than that."

Before that, Brand had carried the Clippers in the final
quarter. Los Angeles trailed by seven points with 8 minutes to go,
but had half the Clippers' points in a 12-4 spurt and gave them a
77-76 lead with a jumper with 3:09 left.

The Knicks got within 83-82 and had the ball after a Clippers
miss, but Rose couldn't get the ball in and was called for a
5-second violation.

Rose was asked if he was counting to five in his head.

"Yes, but he was counting also," Rose said. The referee, I
heard him say, 'One, one thousand', but I think he forgot the other
four.

"Their guys did a good job. The end of the game, the referees
want to decide it on the floor and they did a good job of bottling
guys up, being physical, holding, grabbing, doing whatever they had
to do to do not give an inch. That's a veteran team that's doing
that, and that's why the Clippers are having one of the better
seasons they've ever had."

Mobley made two free throws, and Brand knocked away a
desperation inbounds pass.

Kaman added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers (29-17),
who are a game behind the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the best
record in franchise history after 46 games. That team went a
franchise-best 49-33.

The Knicks shot 32 percent in the first half but still led 40-36
behind 12 points from Rose. The Clippers then opened a 58-51 lead
on Cassell's 3-pointer with 3:11 left in the third, but the Knicks
closed the quarter with a 10-2 spurt to take a 61-60 lead on Nate
Robinson's steal and layup with 1.4 seconds left.

New York then opened the fourth with consecutive baskets by
Crawford and Qyntel Woods to push the lead to 65-60.

Shortly after that, Cassell was hit with a technical foul that
was taken away. He jumped off the bench to scream at teammate Chris
Wilcox after Wilcox was beaten by Channing Frye for an offensive
rebound and basket. Referee Kevin Fehr apparently thought Cassell
was yelling at Tom Washington, the official under the basket, and
called the technical. Washington calmed down the irate Cassell by
telling Fehr that he wasn't the one being yelled at and had the
technical removed.

Game notes
With Rose, Crawford and Maurice Taylor, the Knicks had
three starters who played at the University of Michigan. The
Clippers have three players from Duke: Brand, Daniel Ewing and the
injured Corey Maggette. ... Knicks coach Larry Brown led the
Clippers to consecutive playoff appearances from 1991-93.