Saturday , Jan , 17 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Ailing Lakers host rival Clippers

(Sports Network) – The basketball rivals in Los Angeles hook up tonight, as
the injury-plagued Lakers act as the host tonight against the Clippers at
Staples Center.

Earlier this season, the Clippers, who were the host, defeated the Lakers,
101-98, on January 4, 2004. With the win, the Clippers snapped a five-game
series losing streak.

On Friday, the short-handed Lakers were crushed by the Sacramento Kings,
103-83, at ARCO Arena.

Once again the Lakers were forced to play without three-fifths of its starting
lineup. Center Shaquille O’Neal, forward Karl Malone and guard Kobe Bryant all
remained sidelined with injuries, as the Lakers dropped their seventh straight
on the road. Los Angeles also had its three-game winning streak overall come
to an end.

O’Neal is expected to miss tonight’s game, but could return to the Lakers’
lineup on Monday against the Phoenix Suns. Malone and Bryant are currently on
the injured list.

Kareem Rush was forced to pick up the scoring slack on Friday and finished
with a career-high 30 points in the losing effort. Gary Payton chipped in 16
points for the Lakers.

The Lakers are 6-10 as the visitor this season.

The Clippers fell to the Miami Heat, 87-85, on Friday at the Staples Center.

Elton Brand tallied 22 points and 12 boards for the Clippers, who have dropped
three of their last five. Corey Maggette scored 21 points in the losing
effort.

With just 45.8 seconds left, Eddie Jones drilled a wide-open three-pointer
from the left corner to extend Miami’s advantage to 87-83.

Maggette then made a layup with 31 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to two
points for Los Angeles.

But they were the last points of the game as Miami’s Lamar Odom slipped and
turned the ball over on the next possession, which could have extended the
Heat lead.

However, the Clippers failed to capitalize as Maggette dribbled the ball down
the court and was unable to get a final shot off, despite having eight seconds
on the clock.

The Clippers waived veteran forward Glen Rice on Friday. The club replaced
Rice on the roster by activating center/forward Melvin Ely from the injured
list.

Brand has 18 double-doubles this the season.

The Clippers are 12-10 as the host this season.

The Lakers have won seven of the last nine contests against the Clippers.

LAC LAL