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Richardson scores 32 for second straight game

3/17/2004

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers' big three of Quetin Richardson, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette got the best of
Phoenix's top trio of Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe
Johnson, and it paid off in a rare road victory.

Richardson had 32 points for the second consecutive game and 12
rebounds, Brand scored 27 points and Maggette had 23, as the
Clippers snapped a four-game losing streak and a six-game road
skid, beating the Suns 110-98 Tuesday night.

"They paid a lot of attention to Elton and that opened it up
for everybody," Richardson said. "We played good defense and when
we do that, we have a chance.

"A road win is definitely a good one."

Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy thought one of the big differences
in the game was second-chance points.

"In the first half, they (the Suns) had 15 second-chance
points," he said. "In the second half, they had four. That's
huge."

In winning for only the third time in 13 games, the Clippers
handed the Suns their 20th loss in the last 26 games, including the
fourth straight at home.

The Suns, who played their fourth game in five nights, have to
go 7-0 in their final seven games at America West Arena to avoid
the first losing record at home since their inaugural season in
1968-69.

The 82 points by Richardson, Brand and Maggette were 17 more
than the Suns' top scorers.

Stoudemire topped the Suns with 28 points, the 15th time in the
last 16 games he has reached the 20-point mark. Marion added 19
points and Johnson had 18.

The Clippers built a 61-54 halftime lead, as the three big
scorers from each team were in double figures.

Maggette shot 7-of-9 and had 19 points. Richardson scored 17,
and Brand, coming off his lowest-scoring game of the season -- five
points against Dallas on Sunday -- had 12. Marion and Stoudemire
each scored 16 and Johnson had 13, accounting for all but nine of
the Suns' points.

"In the first quarter, Amare, Johnson and Marion got off,"
Brand said. "In the second, we took off. And our big three took it
to them in the second half.

"The problem we've had has been getting a lead and keeping it.
This time, we kept it."

Phoenix led 28-24 after one period -- its first lead after the
opening quarter since Feb. 27 -- committing only one turnover, but
the Suns got sloppy in the second quarter, making eight turnovers,
and the Clippers capitalized, outscoring them 37-26.

Los Angeles extended its lead to 87-72 after the third period by
scoring the final seven points of the quarter and continuing to
outrebound and outhustle the tired Suns.

"Their big three are real good once they get going, and they're
hard to stop," Stoudemire said. "They are tough under the boards
and on the glass."

Los Angeles' three key players outrebounded their Phoenix
counterparts 29-24.

Phoenix coach lamented his team's lack of energy from its
demanding schedule.

"We didn't quite have energy," he said, "and we don't have
the experience and the basketball savvy to play under control. I
just don't think they had a lot of gas left in them."

Game notes
Los Angeles center-forward Chris Wilcox missed the game
with a strained left Achilles tendon. ... Suns center Jake Voskuhl
has plantar fasciitis of the left foot and missed his first game
due to injury this season (he was out one other game to attend the
birth of his daughter). ... Diamondbacks closer Matt Mantei was in
attendance. ... This was the first meeting between the teams at
America West Arena since Feb. 11, 2003. ...

... The Suns will induct Charles Barkley into their Ring of
Honor during halftime ceremonies at Saturday night's game against
Milwaukee.