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Maggette leads balanced attack as Clippers beat Lakers

Apr 5, 2007 - 6:59 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Clippers finally broke thought against their Tinseltown rivals.

Corey Maggette scored 22 points and Cuttino Mobley chipped in 18 and seven assists as the Clippers posted a 90-82 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Chris Kaman had 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks and Elton Brand added 12, 10 and three for the Clippers (37-37), who have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Golden State (36-39) for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

"This was a very big game for us," Brand said. "It puts us back to .500 and that means a lot. It did matter a little bit about who we were playing because of the playoff implications as they are right in front of us in the standings."

"We can close out the season with these last eight games and we continue playing the way we're playing we'll be strong for the playoffs," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "I don't think there is a team left on our schedule that can't beat us and there isn't a team on our schedule we can't beat."

Maggette shot 5-of-9 and made 12-of-16 free throws in his return after missing one game with a chest contusion. He also had six boards and six assists.

"I was going to give it all I had," Maggette said. "I told (Dunleavy) that I was going to go and I am just glad I could do what I did to help this team. I am just glad this game wasn't (Tuesday) because I know definitely I wouldn't have been able to play."

The Lakers (39-36) have dropped four of five matchups as their advantage for sixth place in the conference over Denver (38-36) as been trimmed to one-half game with seven games left.

"That is something we'll have to address (urgency) for our young players," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. "We have touched on that point several times in practice and (Thursday) in practice we will talk about it some more."

It was the Clippers' first victory in the series in three tries this season. They also close to 1 1/2 games of the Lakers.

The Lakers trailed by as many as 19 points before storming back behind Bryant's seven third-quarter points, cutting the deficit to 75-69 at the start of the fourth.

"The Lakers got into the open court in the third quarter off of offensive turnovers or they somehow got some good stops underneath the basket," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.

Lamar Odom's drive and kick to reserve Maurice Evans for a wide-open 3-pointer from the left corner with 5:03 remaining pulled the Lakers within 79-78.

However, the Clippers responded by reeling off seven consecutive points, capped by Brand's fadeaway jumper over Ronny Turiaf at the 3:12 mark.

Odom netted four of his 21 points as the Lakers closed to 86-82 with 1:58 remaining. But Maggette sank a pair of free throws and Brand added another basket to seal the win.

Bryant had 29 points and seven boards for the Lakers, who will look for revenge against the Clippers in the series finale on April 12.

"We didn't execute," Bryant said. "We settled for a lot of long balls that didn't go down. We just got away from our execution."

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