Chris Wilcox's rebound basket at the buzzer snapped the Los
Angeles Clippers' 13-game losing streak in a 98-96 victory over the
Suns on Tuesday night.
The last team the Clippers beat was the Suns in Phoenix on March
"It's important for our guys to play hard and be rewarded for
that," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We've been playing
without four to five guys every night for the last 15 games."
Wilcox scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in
25 minutes in his second game back from an Achilles' tendon injury.
"I was out for like four weeks," he said. "For me to come
back and have a game like this is a great feeling."
Wilcox put the Clippers up 96-93 on a tip-in with 16.2 seconds
Shawn Marion sank his fourth 3-pointer of the fourth quarter
with 13.8 seconds left to tie it at 96-96. Quentin Richardson drove
the lane but missed, and Wilcox kept the ball alive with several
tips inside before getting one to fall.
"We fought back," the Suns' Amare Stoudemire said, "but
Wilcox hit a lucky shot and they got a lucky win."
Referee Blane Reichelt reviewed the play on videotape before
signaling the shot good.
The Clippers outscored the Suns 54-36 in the paint and 25-14 on
"Coach told us we had to be physical down low in the post
against these guys," Wilcox said, "and that's what we did."
Elton Brand, apparently headed for a spot on the U.S. Olympic
team, had 30 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, which blew a
15-point second-half lead before pulling it out.
Marion scored 14 of his 24 in the fourth quarter. Stoudemire, in
a fierce power-forward battle with Brand, had 29 points and 14
rebounds. Leandro Barbosa scored 17, including 14 in the second
The loss, in a game far more intense than would be expected from
two teams headed nowhere, dropped the Suns into a tie with the
Clippers for last place in the Western Conference with each team
having one game to play.
"Nobody wants to be in last place," Marion said.
Marion, 4-for-14 through three quarters, made two 3-pointers and
scored eight points in a 16-4 Phoenix run to start the fourth
quarter. His 3 with 7:47 to play gave the Suns an 82-80 lead.
Stoudemire punctuated the outburst with a rebound stuff of Marion's
fast-break miss and Phoenix led 86-82 with 5:35 to play.
Bobby Simmons' 18-footer put the Clippers ahead 94-93 with 53
seconds to play.
"They kept battling," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said of the
Clippers. "They had a lot more second-chance points. They played a
little bit tougher than us in the paint, and we gave it up."
Joe Johnson finished with nine points, ending his string of 42
straight double-figure games. He played 45 minutes, though, his
34th consecutive 40-plus-minute game -- the most since Wilt
Chamberlain's 34 straight in 1970.
The Clippers outscored Phoenix 19-5 over the final seven minutes
of the first half to take a 55-44 at the break.
The run reached 23-5 when the Clippers scored the first four of
the second half and led 59-44 on Doug Overton's layup with 11:05
left in the third quarter.
Barbosa scored 10, including two 3-pointers, in a 13-3 spurt
that cut it to 64-59 with 5:22 remaining in the third. With the
Suns down 76-70, Antonio McDyess missed two free throws with 27
seconds left in the quarter. Wilcox's stuff made it 78-70 entering
Brand said he missed a call from USA Basketball on Tuesday
and hadn't been able to return it. He said he planned to talk team
officials on Wednesday and would be honored to be named to the
Olympic team. ... Casey Jacobsen won the Suns' Dan Majerle Hustle
Award. The award is determined by a vote of fans, Suns players,
coaches, employees and Majerle himself. ... The Clippers won the
season series 3-1.