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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- PHOENIX 29 22 25 26 102 LA CLIPPERS 33 29 27 22 111 FINAL


Game Story

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Whether it was Michael Olowokandi, Elton Brand or Quentin Richardson, the Los Angeles Clippers used the low post to punish the Phoenix Suns.

Brand had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead a balanced attack as the Clippers overpowered the Suns, 111-102, for their third straight home victory.

The Clippers showed uncommon discipline for a young team as they identified their advantage over the smaller Suns and repeatedly used it. The post play opened up the entire court as they shot 58 percent (42-of-72) from the field, including a startling 72 percent (26-of-36) in the first half.

It started with the 7-foot Olowokandi, who scored nine of his 11 points in the first quarter, primarily on post moves against the smaller Jake Voskuhl.

"I thought Michael did a great job of taking the ball to the basket and taking his time on creating good shots," Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said.

Brand helped the Clippers extend an 11-point halftime advantage to 89-76 entering the final period by scoring 10 points in the third period, most of them from the low block against forward Tom Gugliotta.

"With Elton in there, we feel we can throw it in the post against anyone," Gentry said. "He played well against (San Antonio 7-footers) Tim Duncan and David Robinson. If he's gonna score on those guys, you've got to feel confident about anyone else. We feel like we can throw it in there, they have to make a decision on Elton -- if he's gonna score or pass."

"Not to be cocky, but I like my matchups a lot," said Brand, who made 11-of-19 shots and grabbed 11 rebounds. "Not to take anything away from Phoenix, they're good defenders, but I feel I could create today. I could pass the ball out if I was double-teamed, or get my shots."

After the Suns reduced the deficit to five points in the fourth quarter, the Clippers went down low to Richardson, who scored 17 points. He was able to muscle past 6-7 Penny Hardaway for a tough bank shot and two free throws, rebuilding the advantage to 100-89 with 4:22 to go.

Jeff McInnis had 17 points and nine assists and Corey Maggette scored 16 points for Los Angeles, which improved to 3-1 without suspended forward Lamar Odom. Before this season, the Clippers were 1-11 without Odom.

"It was a great win against a real quality team," Gentry said. "They have some weapons they can choose from. Obviously, if you can shoot 70 percent in a half, you've got to be doing something right."

While LA attacked inside, Phoenix fired away from outside and shot 47 percent (39-of-83). Hardaway scored 31 points and backcourt mate Stephon Marbury added 25 and 11 assists.

"They shot over 70 percent in the first half and over 58 for the game," Suns coach Scott Skiles said. "You're not going to win many NBA games when the opponent does that. We couldn't stop them with any consistency and when you have to launch a lot of perimeter shots, it's not a good mix."

Los Angeles made 13-of-18 shots in each of the first two periods. Maggette scored 11 points in the first quarter as the Clippers opened a 33-29 lead, an advantage they widened to 62-51 at halftime.

"Defense wins games," Marbury said. "Their guys were making the shots and once they get into a rhythm, it's hard to stop them. They're a really good team now."

Tony Delk's third 3-pointer of the period and a jumper by Gugliotta pulled Phoenix within 94-89 with 6:31 to play. But McInnis dribbled through a trap and hit a runner before four straight points from Richardson.

"They know that one of their main guys is out," Marbury said. "But that gives an opportunity to someone else and Richardson is really filling that role right now."

A baseline jumper by Marbury made it 101-93, but Hardaway and Shawn Marion missed shots and Eric Piatkowski hit a 3-pointer for a 104-93 bulge with 1:28 to go.

"(The) big part about today is we maintained the lead," Brand said. "In Portland the other night, we led by 14-15 points but lost it back. Today we stayed solid and did not allow them to get back in the game when they made a run."

Piatkowski scored 12 points and Darius Miles added nine off the bench for Los Angeles, which has won three of the last four meetings after losing 12 in a row to Phoenix.

Delk scored 11 points for the Suns.

st 11-10-01 19:48 et

r s BC-CARRIER-CHK 11-10 0000

Network HEARTBEAT from SportsTicker.

st 19:48 et

r q bc-nba-u-newyork GSWNYK00900802074735 11-10 0000

KIP,20011110,R,33,154935,1,07470,N,GSW,2385,Antawn Jamison,O^ KIP,20011110,T,1,GSW,2,5,0,1,3,3,7,0,0,1,3,0,1,0,0,1,2,0,0,0,0,0,0^ KIP,20011110,P,1,GSW,2385,33,Antawn Jamison,F,2,4,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,1,1,1,0,0,0,1,0,N,N^

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