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Brand scores 22 as Clippers close out homestand 5-0

Nov 12, 2006 - 11:20 PM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Elton Brand allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to leave for the road unblemished.

Brand paced six players in double figures with 22 points as the Clippers completed a perfect homestand with a 92-76 victory over the slumping New Orleans Hornets.

Corey Maggette scored 14 points and Tim Thomas added 12 off the bench for Los Angeles, which ended its first homestand of the season a perfect 5-0. The Clippers travel to Utah on Tuesday.

"It means a lot to protect our home court, especially with the way the schedule is set," Thomas said. "You get on the road and try to steal some games for the most part and then you win your home games. That sends a statement throughout the league that this is a tough place to play. That's what we're trying to accomplish.

"We need to find a way to win games and that's what we're trying to accomplish. So far we're doing a good job of figuring out ways to win."

Behind Brand's 14 points, the Clippers held a 53-42 edge at the break and stretched it to 62-49 on a driving layup by Cuttino Mobley with seven minutes left in the third.

But the Hornets closed the quarter on a 15-6 run behind seven points from Chris Paul and four each from Tyson Chandler and Desmond Mason to pull within four.

Los Angeles responded immediately by scoring the first eight points of the fourth quarter, and the Hornets did not get any closer than seven thereafter.

A dunk by Brand followed by his turnaround jumper with 3:23 left gave the Clippers an 84-71 lead. Brand finished 8-of-12 from the floor and added 10 rebounds.

"We went to our horse, and he delivered. As he goes we go," Clippers point guard Sam Cassell said. "It's just a matter of time before he's the Elton Brand that I know he can become."

Brand stated that he is having a hard time in the early going coming off this summer's stint with Team USA in the World Championships.

"We'll tread water until he gets back," Cassell added. "Then we'll rock-and-roll."

Paul scored 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting but committed six turnovers for the Hornets, who finished a three-game road trip winless after starting the season a franchise-best 4-0.

"We thought we'd come out of here 2-1 worst-case scenario, but we didn't get a win on this trip," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We're still above a .500 team and we're better than 4-3. We now have to go home, get a little confidence, go right back on the road, go out and play our basketball."

The Hornets committed 26 turnovers, which the Clippers turned into 24 points.

"They're a very well coached team but they're not double-teaming, they're not trapping us full court, we're throwing the ball away," Scott said. "Twenty six turnovers. I would say 17 were unforced. Bad decisions, lack of focus, lack of attention. ... We got our butts kicked, that's what happened."

Thomas entered midway through the opening quarter and knocked down four 3-pointers in a 4 1/2-minute span bridging the first and second sessions.

"It's just one of those things where on any given game, anybody can go out there and catch fire," he said. "It's just a matter of going out there, playing with each other, having confidence with whoever is on the court. Just taking it from there. It's been successful so far."

Maggette hit all six of his free-throw attempts and added five rebounds in 21 minutes. "Tim Thomas was excellent off bench," Brand said. "He came in with a lot of intensity and firepower. Corey Maggette came in and sparked us offensively and defensively. Our bench has been playing great."

Chandler had eight points and 13 rebounds and Bobby Jackson scored 12 off the bench for the Hornets.

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