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Brand overpowers desperate Heat

12/5/2001

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Miami Heat played with desperation and
determination, but it still wasn't enough to offset Elton Brand and
Quentin Richardson.

Brand had 23 points and 17 rebounds, Richardson added 19 points
and Michael Olowokandi blocked a season-high six shots as the
Clippers dealt the Heat their 12th straight loss with an 87-83
victory Tuesday night.

In eight of their nine losses, the Clippers had a lead during
the fourth quarter. But this time they hung on with some critical
defensive stops down the stretch and improved to 9-9. It's the
Clippers' best start since 1992-93, when they were 11-7.

"We blew a lot of fourth-quarter leads, at home and on the
road. So to pull this one out in front of our fans was great,
especially against a team that had their backs against the wall,"
Brand said. "They wanted to win and they pulled out all the stops.
They were fighting hard and banging, but we won the game."

This is the third-longest losing streak ever for the Heat, who
entered the league in 1988-89. They lost their first 17 games in
their inaugural season before ending the drought against the
Clippers in Los Angeles. The following season, Miami dropped 13
straight.

"Ten of the 12 games have been close games. Some of them have
gone right down to the wire, and it's been a make-or-miss
situation," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "We need people to step
up. We need to win a game, get off the schneid and move on."

The losing streak is the longest for Riley in 20 seasons as an
NBA head coach, and he is in danger of missing the playoffs for the
first time.

"I've got to get the ball to the right people, I've got to have
them in their right sets and I have to make them more productive,"
Riley said. "I picked them, I coach them, and it's my
responsibility to get them to become more diligent. But right now
I'm not getting them to do that."

Alonzo Mourning scored 21 points for the Heat, one of three
teams without a road victory (0-6), along with the Clippers and
Chicago. Eddie Jones, Miami's leading scorer, did not play after
bruising his right knee toward the end of Monday's practice.

Jim Jackson made his season debut after signing with Miami as a
free agent on Sunday, playing 41 minutes and scoring all 14 of his
points in the first three quarters. He shot 6-for-14 and missed a
seven-foot jumper that would have tied the score with six seconds
left.

"I've been watching this team play, and this was the place I
wanted to go," Jackson said. "I wanted to be in a disciplined
system with a coach who is known to push his players. I felt it
would benefit me in the long run."

After trailing throughout the fourth quarter, the Clippers tied
it for the second time at 80-all when Lamar Odom slammed home a
missed layup by Jeff Mcinnis with 2:43 to play.

The Clippers took the lead for good with 2:07 left, as McInnis
fed Odom for a three-point play that gave Los Angeles an 83-80
lead. LaPhonso Ellis fouled out on the play.

Rod Strickland pulled Miami even with a pair of free throws, but
Brand found Richardson cutting down the lane for a slam dunk that
gave the Clippers an 85-82 edge with 53 seconds left.

Mourning made one of two free throws after Clippers center
Michael Olowokandi fouled out for the first time this season with
41 seconds on the clock. Odom missed a 20-footer at the other end,
but Jackson missed his chance to tie the score and Brand's two free
throws sealed it with five seconds remaining.

"It was a good play. I knew they didn't play the pick-and-roll
well, so I knew I could get around to the basket," Jackson said.
"It rolled in and rolled out. I think somebody was shaking the
basket back there."

The loss dropped Miami's record to 2-14, the worst in the NBA.
They had won their previous nine against the Clippers.

Game notes
Olowokandi, still under investigation on three felony
counts involving an argument with his ex-girlfriend, said he will
not sue anyone for false arrest if the charges are dropped by the
district attorney's office. "My most important thing right now is
to focus on the team. And filing a false arrest might prolong this
thing and turn the exposure from basketball onto other things,"
Olowokandi said. "I don't want to bring any more undue attention
to the team." ... Clippers coach Alvin Gentry was an assistant
coach at Miami for four seasons and interim head coach for the
final 36 games of the 1994-95 campaign (15-21) before Pat Riley
took over. ... Miami was the sixth team to have a winning streak of
eight or more games against the Clippers end since Gentry became
coach last season. The others were the Lakers (16), Phoenix (12),
Chicago and Cleveland (nine each) and Detroit (eight). ... Miami is
Jackson's eighth team in six seasons. He joined a squad that
includes four of his former teammates -- Grant, Ellis, Gatling and
injured Kendall Gill.