Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Friday, November 18th
Game 2: Saturday, January 7th
Game 3: Friday, February 24th
Game 4: Sunday, April 9th

Lakers 83

(28-27, 13-17 away)

Clippers 102

(31-23, 18-9 home)

Coverage: FSPI

7:30 PM ET, February 24, 2006

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 14 30 18 2183
LAC 22 26 33 21102

Top Performers

LAL: K. Bryant 39 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

LAC: E. Brand 32 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

Brand explodes in second half to lift Clippers over Lakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Just when it seemed the Lakers and Clippers were returning to their traditional roles, the Clippers showed who the team of the moment is in Los Angeles.

Elton Brand scored 24 of his 32 points in the second half and had 11 rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers stopped a season-high five-game losing streak with a 102-83 win over the Lakers on Friday night.

"We lost five games in a row but I don't think we were playing badly," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Our guys knew we had to have this game tonight."

Cuttino Mobley scored 22 points and Vladimir Radmanovic had 19, including five 3-pointers, for the Clippers, who have taken two of three from their crosstown rivals as they seek to make the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons.

"It was a huge game for morale," Brand said.

Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, but 25 were in the first half and he had just one point in the decisive third quarter.

Chris Mihm was the only other Laker in double figures with 11 points.

Brand took control of the game with 16 points in the third quarter.

After Smush Parker's 3-pointer gave the Lakers their only lead of the game at 51-50 with 9:45 to play in the quarter, the Clippers went on a 27-9 run that featured 10 points from Brand.

Brand dunked over a pair of defenders, had a three-point-play a minute later, and had another dunk to put the Clippers up 77-60 with 2:59 to go in the quarter.

"He's a hard-hat guy," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Brand. "He's extended his range on his jumper, which has helped his game tremendously."

Radmanovic made a 3 in the final minute of the period to give the Clippers their biggest lead 81-62.

"We didn't match their energy and their effort," Bryant said. "They outworked us tonight. They got hot and they made a lot of big plays. They hustled when they missed, and on defense they were scrapping and hustling."

Bryant's 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter pulled them within 12, but they would get no closer. Bryant scored 13 in the period.

Both teams are in position to make the playoffs, with the Clippers in fifth place in the West and the Lakers in eighth. That brought more urgency than any burgeoning rivalry.

"It's no longer a city thing," Brand said. "It's a playoff-seeding thing. No more statement games. No more learning from losses."

Mobley concurred: "It wasn't about the Lakers. We lost five games. We needed it. It could have been the Lakers, or Memphis or whatever."

The Lakers had shown some much-needed balance as they won two games earlier in the week coming out of the All-Star break.

But Bryant had virtually no help Friday night.

Lamar Odom, who had scored 20 and 19 points in his last two games and seemed to be showing up as the second-option the Lakers had hoped for, had just eight points Friday night against his former team.

"We wanted to get somebody else in this ballgame to score in this ballgame," Jackson said. "We kind of encouraged Lamar at halftime to get a rhythm out there and get his offense going."

The Lakers failed to make a field goal in the first seven minutes of the game and the Clippers raced to a 12-1 lead that featured 3-pointers by Mobley and Radmanovic.

"We missed shots," Bryant said. "We just came out and didn't execute at all. I mean, we just got caught up in the hype of the game."

Brian Cook fouled Sam Cassell hard earlier in the second quarter, and Bryant and Mobley jawed with each other in the ensuing scuffle. Both were called for technicals.

Game notes

Clippers C Chris Kaman sprained his left ankle early in the first quarter and did not return. He is expected to miss two games ... Kwame Brown was back in the Lakers' starting lineup after coming off the bench Thursday night against Sacramento. He played 24 minutes and did not score ... The Lakers' passing on last-minute trades before Thursday's deadline means they will not pay the luxury tax this season. They are about $3 million under the threshold of $61.7 million. Coach Phil Jackson said some frayed nerves disappeared for the Lakers after the trading deadline passed. "It's something I wasn't totally conscious of, how much it can affect some of the guys," he said. "But now our team can relax and be a team." ... Vin Baker, who signed with the Clippers on Monday, has yet to play and has been inactive for the last three games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 83 102
FGM-FGA 28-77 (.364) 37-75 (.493)
3PM-3PA 7-18 (.389) 6-15 (.400)
FTM-FTA 20-28 (.714) 22-35 (.629)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-40 8-41
Assists 17 27
Turnovers 17 11
Steals 5 9
Blocks 6 7
Fast Break Points 4 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (2/0) 27 (1/0)
Largest Lead 1 19

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Kobe Bryant Bryant
Points: 39
Reb: 4
Ast: 8
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Elton Brand Brand
Points: 32
Reb: 11
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 4