OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Although the Warriors got far ahead, they just couldn't get away from the Los Angeles Clippers. Sam Cassell and Elton Brand made sure of it -- and Golden State's self-sabotaging lapses didn't help, either.
Brand had 28 points and nine rebounds, Cassell scored the final four points on free throws and the Clippers rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half for a 96-93 victory over Golden State on Monday night.
The Clippers celebrated despite a dismal first half, while the Warriors lamented a victory that came unraveled with bad defense, poor shooting and one terrible late-game decision by Baron Davis.
"We were dead, but we're going to play until there are four zeros on the clock," said Cassell, who scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. "This victory says a lot about our ballclub. We needed this game just as much as they needed it, and we got it."
Cassell hit the go-ahead free throws with 1:10 to play. He added two more with 0.9 seconds left after Davis botched the Warriors' last chance to avoid an embarrassing collapse by holding the ball -- then dribbling it off his foot in the final seconds.
Cuttino Mobley scored 15 points for the Clippers in their biggest comeback of the season. The victory also was their seventh straight over their Pacific Division rivals -- and the second in two days, after a 105-92 win at Staples Center on Sunday.
"Right now, it seems like we have their number," said Daniel Ewing, who scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter. "Hopefully we can build off these two wins for something more."
Jason Richardson scored 30 points and Troy Murphy had 16 points and a season-high 20 rebounds for the Warriors, who fell apart with poor shooting and missed free throws in the final 16 minutes. Golden State also used an unorthodox strategy in the final moments, choosing to dribble out the final 16 seconds for one last shot
despite trailing by one point.
The Warriors took a 74-55 lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter on Richardson's 3-pointer. But the Clippers made a gradual 32-13 run over the next 12 minutes, eventually making it 87-87 on Mobley's jumper in the lane with 3:40 to play.
Los Angeles then took the lead on Ewing's free throws, but Richardson converted a three-point play with 1:25 to play, putting Golden State back ahead 93-92. Cassell calmly hit two free throws on the next possession.
After both teams missed jumpers, Golden State curiously elected to dribble down the remaining 16 seconds for a final shot -- but Davis' flub left the Warriors with one second on the shot clock, which ran out on a failed lob attempt to Murphy.
While trying to explain Davis' decision, coach Mike Montgomery underlined the growing gap between his coaching and his point guard's autonomy.
"We're down one, and we wanted to [shoot] early," Montgomery said, his frustration visible. "You have to create a basket. Baron just elected to hold, and put us in an awkward situation."
Montgomery's job security already has been questioned in his second season despite the Warriors' best record in 12 years, largely because of the Warriors' shoddy shot selection and bad decisions this season -- particularly in Davis' inspired yet undisciplined play.
"I was supposed to go on pick and roll, but I got isolated, and usually I can get a shot off," Davis said. "Tonight, I wasn't able to do it. ... I was confident I would be able to get a shot off. That's something I live for. I'm very disappointed in myself."
Cassell hit two final free throws after the shot clock ran out, and Derek Fisher couldn't get off a final shot. Los Angeles has won in 13 of its last 16 trips to Oakland.
Golden State missed seven of its first 10 free throws and finished 11-for-23, including a 2-for-6 performance by Mike Dunleavy.
But the Warriors scored 13 consecutive points spanning halftime, holding Los Angeles scoreless for 4½ minutes. Brand kept the Clippers close, and Cassell scored nine points in 3½ minutes midway through the fourth to lead the comeback.
The Warriors were outrebounded 49-27 Sunday but
outrebounded Los Angeles 51-37 in the rematch. ... At 21-16, the
Clippers are off to their best start since the 1974-75 season, when
they were the Buffalo Braves. The Warriors are 19-21, but still off
to their best 40-game start since 1993-94 -- also the last time they
made the playoffs. ... The clubs finish their season series in
Oakland next month.
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