Thursday , Mar , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Sweet 16: Clippers’ defense smothers Hornets in win

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Elton Brand scored 25 points and the Los
Angeles Clippers recorded the best defensive half in NBA history to beat New
Orleans 89-67 at the Staples Center.

The Clippers held the Hornets to a dismal 16 second-half points after having
trailed by four at halftime.

Sam Cassell scored 15 points for the Clippers, who have won three straight
games. Cuttino Mobley netted 14 points, while Vladimir Radmanovic and Shaun
Livingston added eight apiece.

Desmond Mason scored 20 points to pace the Hornets, who lost their second
straight. P.J. Brown posted 10 points and 11 rebounds, while David West had 10
points. Chris Paul added 12 assists.

The Hornets gained an early advantage, leading 30-25 heading into the second
quarter. LA closed the gap by just one point during the stanza and trailed
51-47 at halftime.

“In the first half, we didn’t play well,” Cassell said. “In the second half,
we played extremely hard. We communicated better. We challenged their shots
and won the game.”

The Clippers took control with a 25-0 run to close the third quarter and
start the fourth. LA led 68-59 heading into the final stanza.

“Coach (Mike Dunleavy) did a great job of implementing the zone,” Brand said.
“We pride ourselves on defense. (The) 25-0 run, that was amazing.”

New Orleans was held scoreless for over 12 minutes during the span across
quarters until Mason converted a free throw with 7:22 left to make the score
74-60. By the end of the game, the Clippers’ run that began with 7:45 left in
the third quarter totaled 40-8.

The Clippers won the finale of a three-game homestand and are 7-2 in their
last nine home games. They own a 20-9 record at the Staples Center this

New Orleans/Oklahoma City closed out a four-game road trip. The Hornets went
2-2 on the swing and are 12-18 away from home this season.

Game Notes

The teams split the season series of two games. New Orleans/Oklahoma City
posted a 102-89 triumph on December 14 in Oklahoma…Los Angeles has won four
of the past six meetings overall and four in a row at the Staples Center.