LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Clippers proved they can win without Elton Brand.
Cuttino Mobley led four players in double figures with 18 points and Los Angeles beat Orlando 90-73 Tuesday night, sending the Magic to their fifth straight road loss.
Brand missed his first game of the season because of a right hip bruise that occurred Dec. 23 at Charlotte. Coach Mike Dunleavy said Brand likely would return later this week.
“It’s huge,” Mobley said about winning without their franchise player. “We had to concentrate on defense. We knew where to get the ball and take care of the ball. Nobody was doing anything extra.”
Brand is averaging 10.7 rebounds, and Chris Wilcox grabbed a career-high 14 while making his first start of the season in Brand’s place. Sam Cassell added 13 points and Daniel Ewing had 10, helping the Clippers end losing streaks of two straight overall and three in a row at home.
The Clippers already are without Corey Maggette, whose torn left foot ligament could keep him out up to two months.
“When you go into a game without your top two scorers, you’re giving up 46 points, you’ve got to figure out where you’re going to get it,” Dunleavy said. “Our guys, they did a good job defensively to help us a great deal.”
Steve Francis was held to 3-for-16 shooting for 10 points, seven below his average.
“I didn’t expect us to play that bad,” he said. “It was more us turning the ball over, missing shots and getting fouls at times when we really didn’t need them.”
The Magic committed 18 turnovers to Los Angeles’ nine.
“We made more mistakes than they did and they capitalized,” Battie said. “Whenever you turn the ball over like that, it gives them more opportunities to score and gives us less opportunities. We didn’t do a good job of managing the basketball.”
Down by 11 going into the fourth, the Magic got a 3-pointer from Stevenson and a jumper by Hedo Turkoglu to trail 70-64.
James Singleton scored on two straight dunks, pushing the Clippers’ lead back to double digits with 9 1/2 minutes left. Shaun Livingston hit a free throw and Mobley made a driving layup, capping a seven-point run by the Clippers with 7:40 remaining.
“He really changed the game around,” Orlando coach Brian Hill said about Singleton, who finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
“It was tough at that point, when he had a follow-up dunk and a fast-break dunk,” Francis said. “It was kind of hard for us to fight back. We got down and never were able to make a run.”
Both teams fell into a spotty shooting stretch, but Livingston ran off six straight points that extended the Clippers’ lead to 83-68 with 3:53 left.
Los Angeles took a five-point lead into the second half and stretched it from there. Chris Kaman’s driving hook gave the Clippers a 10-point lead. Kaman finished with 15 points.
“We got to keep going,” Kaman said about Brand’s absence. “It was more of a team game. Nobody went off for 30 points. We all played steady.”
Later, when the Magic got within five, Cassell took over. He scored on consecutive jumpers, then made a free throw before Mobley hit six straight from the line for a 68-57 lead with less than a minute to go.
Orlando was held to two field goals over the final 3:43 of the third.
The Clippers opened the second quarter on a 19-4 run in which Mobley, Wilcox, Kaman and Quinton Ross scored all their points to take a 36-32 lead. Orlando was held to 12 points in the period after shooting 29 percent.
Orlando F Grant Hill missed his second straight game with a strained groin. … The Magic got C Kelvin Cato back from a bruised left shoulder. … The Clippers were 0-for-3 from the 3-point line. … Free agent F Kaniel Dickens signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers earlier Tuesday. He played three games with Dallas earlier this season before being released.