Corey Maggette scored 24 points and the Clippers took advantage of Tim Duncan’s absence by scoring 50 points in the paint on their way to a 91-83 victory Monday night that snapped a six-game losing streak.
“They came out there and tried to beat us, but we kept our composure, played good defense and won the game,” Maggette said. “We just wanted to get this losing streak off our back, and we had to do whatever it took to win the game—diving, jumping over chairs—we just tried to do it all tonight.”
The Clippers were missing their best player also, as Elton Brand sat out his 12th straight game with a broken foot.
“We got a break tonight without Tim Duncan playing—but every team has gotten a break from us playing without Elton Brand,” coach Mike Dunleavy said.
Duncan was suspended by the NBA on Monday for pushing an official to the floor during Saturday night’s loss to Golden State. Duncan was cutting to the high post when he attempted to clear some room and pushed official Jack Nies, who was trying to untangle himself from another player.
“I think it was unwarranted and I was disappointed about it, but that decision wasn’t in my hands,” said Malik Rose, who didn’t know about Duncan’s suspension until the team boarded the bus for the arena. “Everybody knows Tim didn’t do it on purpose.”
The Spurs are now 1-3 this season without Duncan, who missed three games last month with a sprained left ankle.
First-round draft pick Chris Kaman came off the bench to score 15 points and grab 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who won for only the third time in their last 23 meetings with the Spurs.
Kaman was probably the only Clipper who was upset that Duncan didn’t dress.
“I wanted to play against him,” Kaman said. “He’s a good player and I was looking forward to having a chance to try and guard him.”
The defending NBA champion Spurs have lost three straight games for the first time since March 2002.
Rose, making his fourth start of the season because of Duncan’s suspension, had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs. San Antonio missed 15 of 33 free throws while falling to 2-7 on the road.
“This is just a group of guys trying to figure out how good they’re going to be by playoff time, just like the team last year,” coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Clippers did not make a basket after Maggette’s 21-footer with 3:40 remaining gave them a 76-73 cushion.
Rose and Tony Parker rallied the Spurs down the stretch, with Rose converting a turnover by Marko Jaric into a three-point play that narrowed the gap to 85-79 with 1:08 left. But the Clippers made six of eight free throws in the final 59 seconds to put it away.
Trailing by 16 points with 9:27 left in the third quarter, the Spurs used a 16-6 run led by Rasho Nesterovic to close to 56-50 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the period. But the Clippers converted two turnovers by Parker into layups to take a 62-51 lead into the fourth.
The Spurs made only 14 of 43 shots in the first half, while the Clippers used 11 second-quarter points from Maggette and a 14-3 run to build a 46-32 lead.
“They just wanted it more in the first half,” Rose said. “In the second half, I think we competed a little bit better, but we put ourselves in such a big hole it was harder to climb out of it—especially without our best player. Not taking anything away from the Clippers, but we had enough to compete alittle better than we did tonight.”
Brand will have more X-rays taken on Tuesday and is expected to be cleared to practice on Wednesday. He could be back in the lineup within 10 days, Dunleavy said before the game. … Los Angeles placed F Glen Rice on the injured list because of a bruised right knee and activated C Olden Polynice, who was sidelined for the first 12 games with a strained neck. … Doug Overton, who was signed by the Clippers as a free agent on Nov. 21, made his first start of the season. He had five points and two assists in 21 minutes. Keyon Dooling, who had been sharing the duty at point guard with Jaric, wasbenched by Dunleavy after starting 10 of the first 12 games.