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Brand, Kaman help Clippers dominate injury-depleted Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- When Elton Brand saw most of Charlotte's
big men in street clothes, he knew he was in for a big night.

Brand took advantage of the Bobcats' depleted roster with 38
points and 20 rebounds Friday night to help the Los Angeles
Clippers pound their way to a 97-88 victory over Charlotte.

"They were missing some legs and we took it to them, just
worked them over inside and out," Brand said. "They were
undersized, but we don't feel sorry for anyone."

Chris Kaman added 22 points and a career-high 22 rebounds for
the Clippers, who snapped a five-game road losing streak by
dominating the boards and grabbing every loose ball possible. It
got to the point where Kaman was fighting Brand -- not the Bobcats --
for rebounds.

"I was trying to get to 25 but Elton kept taking them all,"
Kaman said. "Elton started going crazy and blocking shots and
taking my rebounds. So I was a little bit upset with him. We're not
on good terms."

Brand and Kaman became the first teammates to go for 30/20 and
20/20 in the same game since Willis Reed and Dave DeBusschere did
it in 1970 with the New York Knicks.

The Bobcats came into the game as winners of three of their last
four despite a depleted roster. It caught up to them against the
Clippers, when the absence of Emeka Okafor (ankle), Sean May (knee)
and center Jake Voskuhl (ankle) left them unable to compete under
the basket.

The Clippers outrebounded Charlotte 57-37 and scored 56 points
in the paint. No Bobcat had more than six rebounds.

"They didn't have a lot of size and they tried to go small on
us and make us blink," said Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy. "We
tried to stay big and make them blink, and our bigs did a great
job."

Although forward Melvin Ely returned after missing three games
with the flu, he was too weak to put up much of a defense on Brand.
He played just 19 minutes and finished with eight points and three
rebounds.

"When you get caught with just two bigs, that's a recipe for
disaster," Ely said. "We just got caught short-handed."

Brevin Knight led Charlotte with 21 points and Primoz Brezec had
20. Raymond Felton, starting his fourth game in a two point guard
lineup because all the injuries, struggled on 2-of-10 shooting. He
had four points.

Los Angeles had leads of up to 17 points, but saw Charlotte cut
it to 91-86 late in the game. But Brand ended any chance of a
comeback by completely taking over the game.

He made a layup with 1:49 to play, then after a Charlotte miss,
he got the rebound and was fouled by Bernard Robinson. Brand went
to the line and made a pair of free throws, then hit another jumper
to make it 97-86.

Charlotte had a similar rally in the third quarter, cutting it
to 66-61, only to see the Clippers come roaring back with an 11-3
run behind rookie Yaroslav Korolev, who dunked to start the run and
score his first NBA points.

"I never thought my first two points would be a dunk," Korolev
said, as teammates around him began calling him "The Dunking
Russian."

Korolev also made a 20-foot jumper and added a 3-pointer to
finish with seven points -- the only bench points of the entire game
for the Clippers.

Game Notes
The officials are apparently still getting used to the
setup at Charlotte's new arena. Late in the first half, referee Jim
Clark yelled into the crowd to a Bobcats' consultant that he
couldn't easily locate team fouls on the scoreboard. ... Ely, who
spent his rookie season with the Clippers, was scrambling to secure
tickets for his family before the game. With at least eight
relatives in town for the holiday, Ely was almost begging his
teammates for extras. ... Dallas Cowboys receiver Keyshawn Johnson,
in town for Saturday's game against the Panthers, sat courtside and
received a thundering boo when introduced. NFL sideline reporter
Pam Oliver, seated about a dozen seats away, got a much warmer
welcome.