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Clippers' starters stick it to Heat

MIAMI (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers could have left their bench at home.

Elton Brand had 25 points and 20 rebounds, and the Clippers relied almost entirely on their starters to rally past the Miami Heat 101-82 Tuesday night.

The Clippers won despite getting only three points from their bench. As it turned out, they didn't need that much. L.A.'s starters, proved to be too strong for the Heat, who dropped their third straight game at home to fall to 1-5 overall for the season.

Andre Miller had 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds as the Clippers won their second straight road game. Corey Maggette added 19 points, Michael Olowokandi 18 and Eric Piatkowski 13. Keyon Dooling was the only nonstarter to score for the Clippers, hitting a 3-pointer late in the game to account for his three points.

``We don't really care who scores,'' Brand said. ``The only stat that matters is who wins.''

Brand was too much for the Heat's power rotation of Malik Allen and Brian Grant to contain, as he struck for a season-high in both scoring and rebounding.

``We throw it inside whenever we can, and obviously Elton is a
load to guard,'' Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said. ``We felt that
offensively, we could throw it inside and take advantage of the
matchup.''

Trailing by 10 points in the third quarter, the Clippers rallied
behind Miller and Maggette. L.A. closed on a 25-8 run to take a
73-66 lead at the end of the period and didn't let up.

Maggette hit a layup to put the Clippers up 68-66 with 42
seconds left in the third, and Miller hit a layup and a pair of
free throws to extend the lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Heat, meantime, went cold. During one stretch, the Heat went
nearly eight minutes without a field goal. Anthony Carter hit a
jumper with 3:45 left in the third, and Miami didn't score from the
field again until Brian Grant connected on a short jumper with 7:58
to go in the game.

The Heat's dry spell turned into a 19-point swing, as the
Clippers turned an eight-point deficit into an 11-point spread.

``It was just an absolute collapse,'' Miami coach Pat Riley said. ``We were playing the game as well as we can play. We were very aggressive.

``All of a sudden we just couldn't make a shot or play. We lost all of our aggressiveness when they slowed it down offensively, and the game went the other way.''

Leading by seven points at the start of the fourth period, the
Clippers opened a 79-66 advantage in the first three minutes as
Brand scored on a dunk, Olowokandi hit a baseline jumper, and
Maggette knocked down a jumper from the top of the key.

The Clippers went with a zone defense in the second half,
forcing the Heat to shoot from the outside. The results weren't
pretty. Miami shot 30 percent from the floor, connecting on just 11
of 37 attempts.

``We had some good looks, but the shots weren't falling,'' said Heat forward Caron Butler. ``You try to crash the board and get rebounds, but they were coming up with most of them and that's what led to them getting out in transition.''

Turning up the pressure in the second half, the Clippers not
only forced some bad shots by the Heat, but they also were able to
get out in transition and score easy baskets.

``We played better defense in the second half, getting to loose
balls,'' Maggette said. ``In the first half, the Heat were playing
harder than us, getting to a lot of offensive rebounds. We had to
do what they did, and that was to play hard and tough.''

Reserve Rasual Butler scored 15 points to lead Miami. Butler,
the Heat's top draft pick, and Eddie Jones added 14 apiece.

Game notes
Before the game, the Clippers placed G Quentin Richardson on
the injured list with a bruised knee and activated F Tremaine
Fowlkes. ... The Clippers' bench didn't score until Keyon Dooling's
3-pointer with 3:54 left in the fourth. ... Brand recorded his
sixth straight double-double. ... The Clippers, who wrapped up a
four-game road swing, won road games in Orlando and Miami in the
same season for the first time since 1991-92. ... Miami is 1-3 on
its current five-game homestand. ... After winning nine straight
against the Clippers, the Heat have dropped three in a row in the
series. ... Grant finished with 10 rebounds, giving him 70 in his
last five games ... After setting a franchise record for fewest
free throw attempts (four) against Seattle on Saturday, the Heat
had 22 attempts, hitting on 18. ...F/C Sean Marks missed the game
because of a sore right foot and is day-to-day.

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