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Brand scores season-high 30 points in win

1/9/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After weeks on the hot seat, embattled Los
Angeles Clippers coach Alvin Gentry is trying to get his
injury-riddled team on a hot streak -- before it's too late.

Elton Brand scored 11 of his season-high 30 points in the fourth
quarter and Lamar Odom scored 23 as the Clippers ended a six-game
losing skid with a 103-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on
Tuesday night.

"We needed anything positive to build on," Gentry said. "We
have to continue to play and execute like we did tonight. Overall,
I am ecstatic."

General manager Elgin Baylor has given Gentry a vote of
confidence -- which, for every Clippers coach in Los Angeles from
Jim Lynam to Chris Ford, has been tantamount to a stay of
execution. But the fact that Baylor watched and analyzed game
footage with the team on Monday might not be a good sign for
Gentry.

"There's a lot of pressure on coach," Brand said. "It's been
very tough for him -- especially with a six-game losing streak with
the talent that we have. So we want to come out and win the games
we're supposed to win. It's a long season and definitely an uphill
battle right now."

Andre Miller had 19 points and 14 assists for the Clippers,
whose victory drought was their longest since a nine-game skid in
January 2001. He played the entire game and did not commit a
turnover for only the third time this season.

"The guy who had a great game was Andre Miller," Memphis coach
Hubie Brown said. "Forget the 19 points. He had 14 assists and no
turnovers. I emphasize the turnovers because he played the full 48
minutes and was being pressured from end line to end line. We
couldn't get him to make a bad play."

The victory was the Clippers' first since Odom returned to the
lineup six games ago after missing 11 months because of wrist and
ankle injuries. He is averaging 18.7 points and 8.5 rebounds.

"It's only been six games, so I've still got some room for
improvement," said Odom, who reached the 20-point mark for the
fifth time. "My legs have got to get stronger and my ankle tends
to stiffen up when I'm on the bench. I also have to add a few
little things to my all-around game."

The Clippers have won their last four home games against
Memphis, which began a six-game Western trip with its 12th straight
road loss to a Western Conference team.

Pau Gasol scored 23 points for the Grizzlies, who are 1-14 on
the road. Gordan Giricek, who scored a career-high 31 points
against the Clippers in a victory at Memphis last Friday night, had
only 10 this time.

Jason Williams, who entered tied for sixth in the league in
assists and had 24 over his previous two games, played 13 minutes
in the first half without one assist and finished with seven.

After trailing by as many as 15 points early in the third
quarter, the Grizzlies pulled ahead 74-71 with a 27-9 run triggered
by 3-point shots by Shane Battier and Giricek.

Gasol capped the rally with eight straight points -- including a
pair of free throws with 1:09 left in the quarter.

"He's a 7-footer, but he's got small-forward skills," Odom
said. "When he gets to the basket, he can just put it over guys.
He can play."

But the Clippers pulled ahead 75-74 by the end of the period
with an alley-oop from Miller to Odom, followed by Michael
Olowokandi's short hook shot. Corey Maggette scored seven of his 16
points in a 55-second span, including a three-point play that
restored their double-digit lead -- 90-80 with 7:37 left.

Battier made three free throws after Odom fouled him on a
3-point shot from the right corner with 6:44 left, narrowing the
gap to 90-85. But that was as close as the Grizzlies got, and the
Clippers went on an 11-5 run that clinched it.

"That team over there is well coached by one of the great NBA
coaches of all time, so he's not going to let them stop playing,"
Odom said. "We knew they were going to play hard and stick with
it. But we just kept jabbing them and jabbing them until the game
was over. Elton kind of wore them out."

Game notes
The Clippers' franchise, which started in Buffalo in
1970-71, has never made the playoffs in any season in which it had
a losing streak of more than six games. ... With Memphis in town on
what would have been Elvis Presley's 68th birthday, the Staples
Center sound crew played Elvis songs during timeouts. Memphis is
the site of Presley's Graceland mansion. ... Darius Miles, who was
traded to Cleveland for Andre Miller, watched the game from the
first row behind the basket as he rested up for Friday's game
against the Lakers. The crowd of 14,842 gave him a thunderous
ovation _ while Elvis' ``Return To Sender,'' blared on the public
address system.

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