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Brand scores 39 in win

2/20/2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers' longest road trip
in franchise history lasted longer than they expected when travel
problems forced them to stay overnight in Portland.

They didn't get much sleep, so Eddie House was determined not to
let the game go into overtime Thursday night.

House hit an off-balance 19-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds
remaining to give the Clippers a 102-100 victory over the Boston
Celtics after blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead.

The Clippers' charter flight was delayed until midnight, then
pushed back another 1{ hours because of a mechanical problem. They
returned to the hotel at 3 a.m., then took a noon flight and didn't
get back to Los Angeles until 1:30 p.m. But coach Mike Dunleavy and
his players were back at Staples Center for a walkthrough about 2{
hours before tipoff.

"It was tough," Elton Brand said. "Coach had a shootaround
and guys didn't want to have one. But we had it anyway, and it was
important that we had it, because we won with those defensive
sets."

Brand scored 24 of his season-high 39 points in the first half,
and the Clippers overcame the early ejection of Quentin Richardson
to end a five-game losing streak. Brand also had 11 rebounds and
blocked six shots.

"He was tough tonight -- especially when he was hitting those
outside jumpers," Boston's Chris Mihm said. "We were doing a good
job of rotating to him, but I can't remember many, if any, jumpers
he was missing from the outside on pick-and-rolls.

"He's a big body down low and he knows how to use it to draw
contact. So when he's hitting from the outside, it's a tough guard
for anybody in this league."

The Clippers, who snapped a string of seven straight losses
against Boston with a 95-86 road win Feb. 4, swept the Celtics in a
season series for the first time since 1996-97 and handed them
their fourth straight defeat.

Keyon Dooling added 16 points for the Clippers, whose 3-6 road
trip was the longest for any NBA team this season.

Boston forward Ricky Davis, who shot 11-for-12 from the field
and scored 32 points Wednesday night at Sacramento, had 23 points
in his first start of the season following Thursday's three-team
trade that sent Mike James to Detroit.

The Celtics acquired guards Chucky Atkins and Lindsey Hunter
from the Pistons in the deal along with Detroit's first pick in the
next draft, and sent injured forward Chris Mills to Atlanta.

Jiri Welsch had 20 points for Boston and Paul Pierce had 18 on
5-for-19 shooting. But the Celtics committed 24 turnovers, which
the Clippers converted into 32 points to send Boston to its fourth
straight loss and 10th in 11 games.

"It's been a problem of ours all year," said Mihm, the only
Boston starter without a turnover. "You just kill yourself when
you turn the ball over in this league because you're taking away
points from your own team and giving them easy chances to score."

The Celtics did not make a field goal during the first 6:39 of
the fourth, but stayed within striking distance while the Clippers
committed 11 of their 26 turnovers. Boston used a 10-0 run to turn
a 93-80 deficit into a 100-99 lead with 46.1 seconds to play.

Rookie Marcus Banks made one of two free throws after a flagrant
foul by House with 51.5 seconds left, giving Boston its first lead
of the second half.

Dooling's free throw tied the score, and teammate Corey Maggette
rebounded a missed 22-footer by Pierce before calling timeout with
8.6 seconds on the clock. The ball was inbounded to House, who got
off the winning shot from the right of the key despite intense
pressure from Banks.

Richardson, was ejected by referee Jim Clark with 50.4 seconds
left in the first quarter after the guard was whistled for fouling
Davis.

The Celtics, down to 10 available players because of the trade,
were leading 24-16 when Pierce missed a short jumper with 4:26 left
in the opening quarter and landed hard on his back. The three-time
All-Star -- who strained his back during Thursday's practice when
Tony Massenburg ran into him -- left the game less than a minute
later and did not return until the start of the second quarter.

Game notes
Davis started 22 games this season for Cleveland before the
Cavaliers dealt him to Boston on Dec. 15. ... This was the ninth
different starting lineup used by the Celtics.