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Clippers outrebound Suns 57-26 in Game 2

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers turned playground bully
in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Elton Brand & Co. pushed the smaller Phoenix Suns around all
night Wednesday, dominating the boards 57-26 in a 122-97 rout that
evened the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 is in Los Angeles on Friday night.

"We're little and you have to fight," Phoenix coach Mike
D'Antoni said, "and if you don't have the fight in you, big guys
are going to punish you -- and they did."

Brand, coming off a 40-point performance in Game 1, had 27
points and 10 rebounds as all five Clippers starters scored in
double figures.

Cuttino Mobley, held to three points on 1-for-6 shooting in Game
1, scored 23 points, as did Sam Cassell, the Clippers' 36-year-old
point guard. Chris Kaman added 14 points and 16 rebounds and
Quentin Ross scored 11 points.

"We feel good about going home," Brand said. "They didn't do
what they had to do on their court, now we shift it to our home
court advantage."

It was the second most one-sided home playoff loss in Suns'
history, eclipsed only by their 129-90 first-round rout by Utah in
1991.

Phoenix also lost at home in Game 2 of the first-round series
against the Los Angeles Lakers, then had to rally from a 3-1
deficit to win the series. The Suns had won four straight playoff
games going into Wednesday night.

Raja Bell, who opened the game 0-for-5, led the Suns with 20
points, while Leandro Barbosa added 19 and Tim Thomas 15. Steve
Nash had 14 points and eight assists, then sat out the final 5:44.

But the story of this game was rebounding. The Clippers
dominated the offensive boards 19-5, leading to a 31-6 advantage in
second-chance points.

"We've got a size advantage down there," Clippers coach Mike
Dunleavy said. "As long as we keep our bigs down there, that's
what's supposed to happen."

Los Angeles led by as many as 20 points in the first half and 21
in the third quarter.

"For whatever reason, we didn't play with a lot of energy
tonight," Nash said. "I thought we were elsewhere much of the
game. We didn't have a great focus. We need that. We're smaller
than every team we play. We need to scrap and we need to focus."

Cassell scored eight points as the Clippers bolted to a 20-6
lead. Cassell's three-point play with 33 seconds left put Los
Angeles ahead 38-22 after one quarter, and the Clippers scored the
first four points of the second to take a 42-22 lead on Corey
Maggette's inside basket with 11:17 left in the half.

Barbosa, who had 10 points in the second quarter, scored seven
in a 9-0 Suns spurt that cut it to 42-31 on his three-point play
9:12 before halftime. The Brazilian's 3-pointer sliced the lead to
50-41 with 5:16 left in the second. The Suns never got within
single digits again.

Shaun Livingston's tip-in with 1:47 left in the half put Los
Angeles up 63-46. Shawn Marion scored on a drive and was fouled,
but missed the free throw. Then Bell's 3-pointer cut it to 63-51
with 1:10 to play. Marion missed a wide-open layup that would have
sliced the lead to 10, then Livingston scored inside just before
the halftime buzzer and the Clippers led 65-51.

Phoenix never cut into that 14-point lead in the second half.

"There was a little fatigue out there," said Marion, who had
13 points and six rebounds. "But even though we were fatigued, we
didn't give ourselves a chance to win. We just got killed on the
boards."

Ross' three-point play on an offensive rebound gave Los Angeles
an 86-65 lead with 5:54 left in the third quarter.

D'Antoni, whose teams are 1-4 in Game 2s the past two seasons,
thought it was a natural letdown.

"I think it's understandable for our guys, and they will
regroup and we'll lay it on the line next game," he said. "It is
size obviously but to negate that and to not get killed, you have
to have that second effort, which we had on Monday and didn't have
tonight."

Game notes
The Clippers had more offensive rebounds in the first half
(15) than the Suns had defensive rebounds (14). ... According to
the Elias Sports Bureau, the Clippers' 59 percent shooting in Game
1 was the highest for a losing team in the playoffs since the Nets
shot 60 percent and lost to Chicago on April 29, 1998. ... The Suns
are 0-4 in these playoffs when they fail to score 100.