Clippers 115, Warriors 109
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Los Angeles Clippers weren’t quite as short-handed as the Golden State Warriors. Still, the absence of Shaun Livingston and Tim Thomas was enough to make it an evenly matched game.
Elton Brand had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the Clippers barely held on to beat Golden State 115-109 Wednesday night—just hours after the Warriors swung an eight-player trade with Indiana that left their bench considerably depleted.
“It seemed that way, but the bulk of their scoring was still there,” Brand said. “They still had three scoring threats on the floor. But with seven (healthy) guys playing for them, we should have held the lead a little better.”
Quinton Ross scored 24 points for Los Angeles and Sam Cassell had 23, along with 13 of the Clippers’ season-high 37 assists. But Livingston was sidelined for the first time this season because of a sprained right ankle and Thomas missed his second straight game with an infected left ear.
“Two of our guys who would have been best suited to play in this game were Shaun Livingston and Tim Thomas,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Tim gives us the outside shooting against the zone, and Shaun’s ability to play multiple positions is a big help against teams like that. So we were kind of short-handed, based on the way they play.”
Monta Ellis and rookie forward Kelenna Azubuike each scored 28 points for Golden State. It was an eventful day for the struggling Warriors, who obtained Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell from the Pacers for Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu, Keith McLeod and Mike Dunleavy Jr.—the son of the Clippers’ coach.
“We just want to use this trade as motivation to gain some ground and some momentum,” said point guard Baron Davis, who had 23 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. “Everybody’s excited about what’s to come. Obviously, it’s sad because we did lose some great guys. But for what we got in exchange, I think everyone’s happy.
“I think Al is going to be a great addition to our team,” Davis added. “He’s a triple threat, as far as passing, posting up and perimeter play. And the other three guys we got are very, very high-quality basketball players who played in a great system in Indiana for a great coach in Rick Carlisle. Stephen Jackson’s a guy who can put points up on the board on any given night, so to have that—and what we have now—I think we’re going to be a pretty potent offensive team.”
The game-day trade left Golden State coach Don Nelson with only six healthy players on his roster because of injuries to Jason Richardson, Mickael Pietrus, Adonal Foyle and Zerko Cabarkapa, who is recovering from back surgery.
The Warriors were required by NBA rules to dress eight players to avoid a forfeit. So they activated Foyle from the inactive list despite his sprained right ankle, and signed guard Renaldo Major to a 10-day contract. Major, who played 27 minutes in his NBA debut and scored five points on 2-for-10 shooting, was playing for the Dakota Wizards—a Development League team of the Sacramento Kings. He spent the previous two seasons in the CBA.
Two other D-League call-ups dressed for Golden State: Azubuike—playing 48 minutes in just his third NBA start—and 7-foot center Patrick O’Bryant, who was recalled from the Bakersfield Jam on Tuesday and played his 13th game with the Warriors.
Los Angeles opened the third quarter with a 21-7 run, including seven points from Corey Maggette and a pair of 3-pointers by Cassell, to extend a nine-point halftime lead to 85-62 with 6:49 left in the period.
The Warriors got as close as 107-102 on a reverse layup by Davis with 3:15 to play, but Azubuike missed a pair of 3-point attempts 4 seconds apart and Cuttino Mobley clinched it with five free throws in the final 1:27.
Three of the players the Warriors traded combined for 37 points in Monday’s 108-93 victory over the Clippers in Oakland. McLeod missed that game with a strained abdominal muscle. … Mike Dunleavy Sr. was pleased about his son being dealt to the Pacers. “I think it’ll be positive for him,” the Clippers’ coach said. “Indiana’s more of a structured team, which probably fits him a little bit better because he’s a total all-around team player. He passes well, comes off screens and reads situations better.” … Golden State used its 20th different starting lineup—the most by any team this season. Dunleavy’s departure left F/C Andris Biedrins as the only player to appear in all 40 games for the Warriors. … The Clippers have now Golden State at least once in 20 consecutive seasons, their longest such streak against any team.