Friday , May , 19 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Heading back to Phoenix: Clippers beat Suns behind Brand, Maggette

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Elton Brand and Corey Maggette combined for
22 points in the fourth quarter, as the hot-shooting Los Angeles Clippers
pounded Phoenix, 118-106, to force a Game 7 in their Western Conference
semifinal series.

Brand poured in 30 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked five shots
while Maggette added 25 points and eight boards, as the Clippers evened the
series after losing Game 5 in double-overtime on Tuesday.

Quinton Ross had a career-high 18 points and Chris Kaman tallied 15 points and
10 boards for LA, while Sam Cassell had 15 points and eight assists. The
Clippers shot 61.5 percent from the field and outrebounded Phoenix, 48-28.

Shawn Marion tallied 34 points and nine rebounds for the Suns, who will face a
Game 7 for a second consecutive series with the decider against the Clippers
coming Monday night in Phoenix. Leandro Barbosa added 25 points and Steve Nash
contributed 17 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who rallied from a 3-1
deficit to beat the Lakers in the first round.

The seventh game will again pit two teams at opposite ends of the playoff
spectrum. The Suns are trying to make it to the West finals for a second
straight year, while the Clipper franchise has never been to the conference
finals.

The Suns were behind by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but cut the
deficit to 88-81 heading into the fourth after a fabulous flurry. Kaman’s hook
shot boosted LA to an 86-70 lead with 1:49 remaining in the period, but
Barbosa hit consecutive three-pointers and Marion followed with another shot
from beyond the arc.

Phoenix, however, didn’t have an answer for Brand or Maggette. The duo
combined for LA’s first 17 points of the fourth, as the Clippers built their
margin to 105-88 with 6:31 to go after a Brand running jumper, sending the
Clipper faithful into a frenzy.

The first quarter was separated by two big runs. Marion’s three-pointer
boosted the Suns to an 18-13 lead with 6:33 left in the period, but the
Clippers responded with a 16-3 spurt.

However, Barbosa dominated late in the opening quarter and into the early
moments of the second with 13 straight Phoenix points. The Suns erased a 29-21
deficit late in the first, as Barbosa’s three-point play with 0.2 seconds left
in the period boosted Phoenix to a 32-31 edge.

The Clippers used a 13-4 run to expand to a 10-point lead late in the second
quarter. Maggette had eight of those points and Ross finished the spurt with a
turnaround jumper, extending LA’s cushion to 50-40 with 4:50 remaining in the
half.

Ross had a spectacular first half, going 8-of-10 from the field for 16 points,
and ending it with a jumper at the buzzer for a 62-50 Los Angeles advantage.
The Clippers shot an astounding 61.9 percent from the field in the opening 24
minutes, with Brand and Ross combining to go 15-for-20.

Game Notes

The Suns are 2-4 all-time in Game 7s of the playoffs…The Clippers have never
been involved in a Game 7 since the franchise moved from Buffalo. The only
seventh game in franchise history came in 1975 when the Washington Bullets
beat the Braves in the Eastern Conference semifinals…Maggette’s points are a
career-best in the playoffs…Boris Diaw had 14 points, nine rebounds and
seven assists for Phoenix, while teammate Raja Bell had 13 points. Bell, who
had the big shot to force double-OT on Tuesday, made 2-of-9 from the field.

LAC PHO