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Mobley hits late 3-pointer; Clippers win fourth straight

Jan 26, 2007 - 8:17 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Cuttino Mobley became the latest last-second hero to break the hearts of the New Jersey Nets.

Mobley nailed a 3-pointer with six-tenths of a second remaining and Corey Maggette and Elton Brand scored 18 points each to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their fourth straight victory, a 102-101 triumph over the Nets.

After Los Angeles failed to hold a 17-point halftime lead, Mobley hit the go-ahead basket to finish with 17 points after his team missed nine consecutive shots down the stretch.

"I knew I was getting the shot when I saw my man drop off and Sam (Cassell) got deep," Mobley said. "Somebody had come to help Sam and he found me. I wanted to get as much space as possible for Sam and in that space, he can create something. He saw me, gave a pump fake and kicked it to me, and I had the confidence to shoot it."

"When Tim (Thomas) came off (a pick-and-roll) and he (brought) the defense in ... Cut rolls up and he just banged it down," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "It was a great shot. Obviously, it was a big shot for us. It kept us going with our momentum."

New Jersey made a valiant comeback effort in the third contest of a five-game Western road trip after squandering double-dight leads in losses to the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors.

"Right now, I am just looking at this game," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You put your heart and soul as a player and a coach into this. This hurts. Every loss hurts and the fact you put all three together and it really hurts you."

The Nets surrendered a 20-point advantage as Mike Bibby scored 15 straight points for the Kings on Monday, including the eventual game-winner with 10 seconds left. Two days later, New Jersey led by 11 points with 4:22 to go, only to see Monta Ellis drill a 17-footer at the buzzer to cap a Warriors comeback.

"We've been there before," Nets guard Vince Carter said. "We've come from 18 behind and won the game. It doesn't matter how and what you have to do or what you had to do to get there. The fact we let ourselves get to that point was just painful."

After Tim Thomas made a 3-pointer to give the Clippers an 88-77 lead with 9:33 remaining, Carter sparked the Nets with nine points in a 20-9 run, capped by two free throws by Jason Collins with 2:28 left that tied the the score at 97-97.

On New Jersey's next possesion, Jason Kidd set up Bostjan Nachbar, who drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:31 remaining for the Nets' first lead since early in the opening quarter.

"We just wanted to try and get a stop to stop their momentum," Brand said. "We were turning the ball over and they were hitting shots. Nachbar was knocking down threes and Vince Carter was going to the hoop. We just needed to get a stop somehow."

Maggette sank two free throws for the Clippers with 1:21 to play before Kidd split two from the line 14 seconds later for a 101-99 lead.

After each team came up empty on its next two possessions, including New Jersey's shot-clock violation with 8.7 seconds left, Mobley took a feed from Cassell on the right wing and swished the go-ahead hoop.

On the Nets' final possession, Kidd inbounded the ball to Carter, who missed a tip-in attempt in the lane as time expired.

Cassell scored 15 points and collected 10 assists and Thomas added 12 points for the Clippers, who have won three straight encounters against New Jersey.

Carter scored 33 points only hours after learning he lost a starting spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team by just 3,000 votes in fan balloting to Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards.

"I don't care about that," Carter said. "All-Stars are All-Stars. I am happy for Gilbert. He's a friend and he has played his (tail) off to this point and he deserves to be in the starting group. His team is playing very well and the fans thought he should be in there, so I applaud him."

Nachbar had 17 points and rookie Marcus Williams added 16 for the Nets, who are winless in eight road games against Western Conference foes.

"I've never seen anything like this," Williams said. "Not even two back-to-back losses like this. And with three games, I still don't believe it."

Carter scored 15 points in the third quarter before limping to the bench after landing on Maggette's foot following a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left in the period. After a timeout, he returned to the floor to help ignite the comeback bid.

"I didn't have a choice (about coming back)," Carter said. "I just felt I'd deal with it later. Go as long as it is possible for you to go and then if you can't, you just have to sit down. Things started rolling and I just stopped thinking about it."

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