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Brand scores 31 points as Clippers end Magic win streak

Dec 4, 2006 - 5:25 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Elton Brand and the Los Angeles Clippers may be undergoing a tough stretch, but those problems usually don't come into play against the Orlando Magic.

Brand scored 17 of his 31 points in the first quarter and Tim Thomas added 20, including five 3-pointers, as the Clippers rolled to a 116-91 victory over the Magic, who had their season-high six-game winning streak ended.

Corey Maggette had 17 points and Sam Cassell and Shaun Livingston combined for 19 assists for Los Angeles, which shot 60 percent (44-of-73) overall.

Entering the contest with six losses in seven games, the Clippers appeared ready to fall to the surging Magic. But they had history on their side, winning five of the last six meetings in the series, and an accurate Brand, who made 12-of-14 shots.

"Hopefully we have built our confidence and will be able to move forward from here," Brand said. "We beat a quality team tonight. And they came out and played really tough. I felt I had to assert myself and make some things happen. It has been disappointing the way we have been playing of late."

Brand's first-period performance helped Los Angeles to a 35-29 lead at the end of the frame. He drilled three straight jumpers to close the quarter.

"Elton looked great tonight," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He's got a lot of bounce back in his step and he looked confident in his shot. That's what we got used to seeing last year."

"Brand was hurting us so bad we had to start double-teaming him," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "That's where you have to pick your poison and decide if you're going to let him score in the post or if you're going to make them move the ball around and find open people. They made a lot of shots while we were double-teaming."

The rest of the Clippers contributed to the scoring in the second period, building a 66-49 cushion at the break. The hosts played comfortably in front for the entire second half.

"This was maybe our best game of the year," Dunleavy said. "There was good ball movement and good execution. We made shots to allow our defense to get set and do the things we are used to doing. I am hopeful we can build on this game and go forward from here."

Dwight Howard scored 16 points and grabbed just seven rebounds, ending his double-double streak at eight games. Hedo Turkoglu added 15 points for Orlando, which fell to 3-1 on its six-game road trip.

"We fell asleep," Howard said. "I don't think we came out with a lot of intensity tonight. As a team, as a whole, we didn't play as hard as we have been playing. They (Clippers) came out on fire and were ready to go to work."

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