Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/21

Game 1: Tuesday, December 21st
Game 2: Saturday, January 22nd
Game 3: Saturday, April 16th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th

Hornets 91

(2-22, 1-12 away)

Clippers 100

(12-12, 8-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, December 21, 2004

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    NO 9 24 29 19 1091
    LAC 24 26 15 16 19100

    Top Performers

    NO: P. Brown 14 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    LAC: E. Brand 23 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    L.A. recovers after blowing 21-point lead

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rick Brunson finished his first start in over three years with a flourish, helping the Los Angeles Clippers avoid their most embarrassing loss in the Mike Dunleavy era.

    Brunson scored 11 of his 18 points in overtime, Bobby Simmons tied a career high with 30 points, and the Clippers beat the lowly New Orleans Hornets 100-91 in overtime Tuesday night after blowing a 21-point, third-quarter lead.

    Dunleavy started a backcourt of Brunson and Quinton Ross because of injuries to Corey Maggette and Marko Jaric. Maggette aggravated a groin strain and Jaric sprained his right foot during practice Monday.

    "It was great to be out there," Brunson said. "It's too bad that Marko went down with an injury, but we were able to overcome that and win. Mike's confidence in me is in running the team, and I thought I did a poor job of that the last four minutes of the fourth quarter, so I was glad to redeem myself."

    Brunson started for the first time since Nov. 27, 2001, at Portland, when Dunleavy was the Trail Blazers' coach. Ross made his third start this season, but left the court for good with 5:40 left in the first quarter because of a hip injury.

    Ross was replaced by rookie Lionel Chalmers, who played 44 minutes -- eight more than he totaled in his other five games. Chalmers shot 3-for-12 with eight points and six assists. He had only five minutes of action in the Clippers' previous 17 games.

    "The guys who weren't getting much playing time were focused and ready to play," Simmons said. "Lionel Chalmers gave us a great push and Rick gave us a big lift."

    The Clippers, who dropped 10 of their previous 13 meetings with the Hornets, ended a five-game losing streak. Elton Brand had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

    David Wesley scored 16 of his 22 points in the third quarter and Lee Nailon had 21 for the Hornets, whose 2-22 record is the worst in the NBA and the worst start in the franchise's 16-year history. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who set the NBA record for futility by going 9-73, also started 2-22.

    The Hornets, who haven't finished with a losing record since 1992-93, have four fewer wins than the first-year Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Clippers opened overtime with a 13-2 run, started by Brunson's second 3-pointer. Brand followed with a 10-foot fadeaway bank shot, Simmons hit a 13-footer, and Brunson added a pair of 3s to finish the spurt.

    Simmons' dunk gave the Clippers their biggest lead, 58-37, with 7:54 left in the third quarter. But the Hornets outscored Los Angeles 17-1 over the final 3:20 of the period.

    Wesley paced the rally with 14 points in a 4:55 span, draining six perimeter shots -- including a pair of 3-pointers. The Clippers went back up by eight on Simmons' short jumper with 5:12 in regulation, but the Hornets scored the next nine points, including a pair of free throws by Wesley to take their first lead, 77-76, with 1:15 remaining in regulation.

    "We knew they were going to make a push, and that David Wesley was going to make some shots eventually," Simmons said. "When a guy gets going like that, it's hard to slow him down. But we contained him in overtime."

    Simmons countered Wesley's offensive outburst with a 3-pointer before Chris Andersen's two free throws tied it with 35 seconds left. Brand's fadeaway jumper put the Clippers back in front 81-79 with 13.5 seconds remaining, but P.J. Brown drained a 19-footer with four seconds left. Wesley missed a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer.

    "I was really just being aggressive, taking some shots I normally wouldn't take in this offense," Wesley said. But at that point we just wanted to try and figure out a way to get back in this game, and I got into a good rhythm at the right time. But the one shot I really needed to hit was that runner at the end of regulation."

    Clippers forward Kerry Kittles was placed on the injured list Tuesday and is expected to miss at least two weeks because of a bulging disc in his back.

    The Hornets have five players on the injured list -- including Jamal Mashburn and Alex Garcia, who are out for the season.

    Point guard Baron Davis, the Hornets' leading scorer, was activated Monday after missing 18 games with a back injury but he didn't play.

    Game notes

    The Clippers started 2-22 in 1998-99, 3-21 in 1994-95, 4-20 in 1986-87, and 4-20 in 1982-83. ... There have been 34 overtime games this season in the NBA after only 71 last season. The Clippers are 2-4 in OT. ... Davis has played in only five games this season after missing 15 last season with a sprained left ankle and 24 in 2002-03 because of knee and back problems. The Hornets are 26-40 without him.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 100
    FGM-FGA 31-88 (.352) 39-79 (.494)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 6-18 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 25-29 (.862) 16-25 (.640)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-42 12-46
    Assists 23 27
    Turnovers 12 12
    Steals 6 6
    Blocks 2 7
    Fast Break Points 2 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 21

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Los Angeles
    P.J. Brown Brown
    Points: 14
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 23
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2