L.A.'s first four-game sweep since '96-97

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Foul trouble kept Elton Brand off the court
for more than 13 minutes in the first half against Golden State.

When he finally got back in the game, he was almost unstoppable.

Brand scored 27 points and Los Angeles Clippers beat Golden
State 96-85, completing their first season sweep of the Warriors.

The Clippers' power forward picked up two fouls in the first
3:04, but the Warriors couldn't capitalize.

"I couldn't wait to get out there again," said Brand, who
didn't commit another foul. "I was hoping that Coach trusted me
not to foul again. But the reserves really stepped up."

Reserve center Zeljko Rebraca made it easy for coach Mike
Dunleavy to keep Brand on the bench, scoring 17 of his season-high
19 points in the first half.

"It gave me that luxury. That was very positive for us,"
Dunleavy said. "Z was going pretty good, so I kept him out there
longer than I had to after Elton got those two early ones. I wanted
to buy as much time as I could -- but not so much where I broke
Elton's rhythm. "

The Clippers led 36-30 when Brand returned to the floor, and he
scored six points in a 1:27 span -- including a 17-footer that
capped a 17-6 run.

The Clippers outrebounded Golden State 54-34, including a
career-high 16 by Rebraca. The Warriors entered the game allowing a
league-worst 46.4 rebounds per game.

"It's tough to win games when you get outrebounded by 20,"
Derek Fisher said. "They kept some balls alive after we made some
good defensive plays and had two and three cracks at the basket --
especially in the second half. And that's tough to overcome in this
league, no matter who you're playing against."

This is the first time the Clippers have swept a season series
of four games or more since taking all four from the San Antonio
Spurs and Vancouver Grizzlies in 1996-97.

Jason Richardson scored 29 points and Mike Dunleavy Jr. added 22
for the Warriors, who have lost five straight and 14 of 15
following a season-best four-game winning streak. They have lost
eight straight on the road.

The Warriors finished their January schedule 1-14, tying the
1997-98 squad for the second-worst since the franchise moved from
Philadelphia in 1962-63. The Warriors were 0-15 in January 1985.

First-year coach Mike Montgomery was forced to use his 12th
different starting lineup after forward Troy Murphy came out of the
loss to Seattle on Friday night with a hairline fracture of his
left thumb. Murphy will be re-evaluated next week.

"From the start of the season, we've just been surviving,"
Fisher said. "It seems like one guy or another go down with an
injury. It's tough to be good and stay consistent and continue to
get better when you have injuries -- especially to key guys."

Clifford Robinson, who missed the Warriors' previous four games
because of a stiff lower back, gave it a shot but played only five
minutes and missed both shots he took.

Clippers leading scorer Corey Maggette did not play after
bruising his left collarbone in Friday night's loss at Portland.
But the Clippers are 5-1 in the games he has missed this season
because of injury.

"When guys are out, especially those who are a big part of our
team, everyone steps up and plays well," Bobby Simmons said.
"Rebraca had a great game on the inside for us and Elton had
another great game. We were executing the offense that Mike put in
for us, and that's the only way we're going to win when guys get
into foul trouble."

The Warriors trailed by as many as 12 before trimming the
deficit to 80-73 with a 16-footer by Fisher and a buzzer-beating
3-pointer by Richardson in the final 28 seconds of the third

They got as close as four on a three-point play by Calbert
Cheaney with 4:46 to play. But Brand responded with a short jumper,
triggering a 8-0 spurt that gave Los Angeles a 95-83 cushion with
1:15 left. Richardson missed all five of his shots in the final

Game notes
Richardson has 170 points over his last six games, but has
also missed 79 shots during that span. ... Brand had eight
rebounds, ending his streak of double-doubles at nine -- two shy of
his career best. ... Simmons, who shot only 7-for-26 in his
previous game, was 3-for-15 this time and finished with 11 points.
... Mike Dunleavy Sr. is 6-2 in games against his son. ... Clippers
F Chris Wilcox, who was activated from the injured list on Friday,
played for the first time since Jan. 2 after being sidelined with a
stress reaction in his right leg. He played four minutes. ...
Golden State PG Speedy Claxton missed his fifth straight game
because of a bruised right thigh.


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