for this game

Wallace, Richardson lift Bobcats past depleted Clippers

Jan 29, 2008 - 7:10 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats got their road trip started on the right note - even if it was against a depleted opponent.

Gerald Wallace finished with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds and Jason Richardson scored 20 as the Bobcats opened a five-game road trip with a 107-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Emeka Okafor contributed 14 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats, who entered the game with just three road wins, the second-worst total in the NBA.

"You play with what you have, I've been saying it all year," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "We've had guys out since the beginning, there's no excuses in this league - you come, you play with what you got and when you can get a win it's always important."

After a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, which led Vincent to question the team's desire, the Bobcats weren't lacking any intensity against the Clippers.

"I'm happy with the growth that the team is making in spite of whatever negativity surrounds the team, they are able to stay focused and be positive and come out and play and I think that shows great strides in how this team is growing and the character of this group," Vincent said.

They never trailed, had seven players in double-figures and managed a season-high 33 assists.

"The effort was there, the passion was there, the teamwork was there," Wallace said. "Everybody played well. We passed the ball, we found open guys and we knocked down shots. We were aggressive on defense and we forced the Clippers out of what they wanted to do with some of their key guys missing."

The Clippers, on the other hand, were just looking for enough healthy bodies to suit up.

Plagued by injuries all season, Los Angeles dressed only nine players against Charlotte.

The Clippers were missing two starters - center Chris Kaman and guard Corey Maggette - who each were suffering from the flu.

Kaman is enjoying his best season, averaging career highs of 17.2 points and 13.9 rebounds, which is third in the league. Maggette is averaging a team-high 20.9 points per game.

Los Angeles is already without Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston, who have both missed the entire season with injuries.

"Guys get sick or hurt and everybody else has to step up," Tim Thomas said. "It's been that way all year, but we've got enough guys to lace them (shoes) up and play ball."

Thomas and Sam Cassell tried to pick up the slack, finishing with 29 and 17 points, respectively, but the Clippers couldn't keep pace with the Bobcats.

Charlotte came out firing after halftime, using four 3-pointers in just over four minutes to spark a 14-4 run. Raymond Felton hit the last two shots from beyond the arc, giving Charlotte a 73-53 lead.

Los Angeles fought back to within nine points on a pair of free throws by Thomas late in the third, but trailed by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter before closing the game on a 20-8 run to account for the final margin.

"The bottom line is that there are things we could have done better in the game and that's what we're looking for," said Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, whose squad has dropped eight of its last 11 games.

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