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Livingston, Brand lead Clippers on decisive run

Feb 1, 2007 - 7:47 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Shaun Livingston and Elton Brand outdueled P.J. Brown.

Livingston scored 10 of his 14 points in the final minutes and Brand collected 26 points and nine rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers finished the game with a flourish en route to a 110-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Tim Thomas had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who closed out the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run to win for the sixth game in their last seven contests.

"Finishing the game that way is key," Brand said. "They really made a run at us. They had guys that hit shots and were quick. We got deflections and showed some resilience. We are playing well and we're playing strong and pulling it out."

With the game tied, 94-94, with 3:45 remaining, Los Angeles went on its decisive run. After Brand made two free throws, Livingston nailed a jumper off the glass and then asserted himself on defense on the ensuing possession.

"I'm just trying to find some energy in myself because, some of the plays in the past, I just wasn't strong enough when I took it to the rim," Livingston said. "Coach sat me down and had a talk with me during practice and told me to be more assertive."

After stealing the ball from Bulls guard Ben Gordon, Livingston was hammered taking the ball to the basket in transition by Kirk Hinrich, who was called for a flagrant foul. Livingston drained both free throws and Brand nailed a jumper to make it 102-94 with two minutes left. Chicago would not recover.

"I just took advantage of the opportunities that were give to me," Livingston said. "Some of the plays weren't called for me, but I am still in the process of picking and choosing when I should score or when I should give the ball up and when to make plays."

However, the Bulls had a chance to tie the game twice before the Clippers' spurt, but Brown did not come through. In a curious decision and Chicago trailing, 96-94, the Bulls threw the ball to Brown - isolated on the post - on consecutive possessions. Brown was blocked both times by Brand, preserving the lead.

"I tried to make a play, but Elton Brand played some good defense on me on one of the shots, and on the other shot they got good help," Brown said. "I think Livingston helped Elton. I tried to take advantage and didn't get the job done."

Chicago coach Scott Skiles admitted there was miscommunication on the plays.

"We have a little play we run where we throw P.J. the ball and go in another direction," Skiles said. "Kirk was supposed to come and get it but neither thing happened. It was supposed to come to Luol (Deng), but it just didn't happen. P.J. was left there to try and create a shot, which is not really his game."

Livingston shot an efficient 5-of-7 from the field and Brand was 9-of-17 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the line. Fellow point guard Sam Cassell scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

"When Shaun and I are on the floor, it causes problems for the other team," Cassell said. "It's key for our team because we can make plays for each other. When you have two guys on the floor that can handle the basketball, it makes it tough for the defense. We can run pick-and-rolls between ourselves."

Hinrich scored 25 points for Chicago, which shot 47 percent (41-of-82) to drop to 6-14 on the road this season.

"We had our moments there when I thought we could turn it around," Hinrich said. "We got it to four or five and then we made some mistakes, and they would stretch it out again. When you are on the road, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get, but we just made too many mistakes."

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