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Clippers Keep Up Hot Pace at Home

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Clippers, who compiled the NBA’s worst record last season, didn’t win their seventh game until Jan. 25.

They’re now two months ahead of last season’s pace.

The Clippers won for the seventh time in 12 games this season, building a 35-point fourth-quarter lead and beating the New Jersey Nets, 125-92, Wednesday night before an announced crowd of 7,412 at the Sports Arena.

“That one was a lot harder than it looked,” Clipper Coach Bill Fitch said after the Clippers’ second-biggest margin of victory since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1984.

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“We made a good run there in the fourth quarter.

“That game wasn’t indicative of the final score. New Jersey fell on hard times rightwhen we fell on good times. But again, it’s important that when you’re struggling and not putting the ball in the hole that we play better in those circumstances.

“There’s no doubt we’re a better basketball team than we were a year ago, but we’ve still got a long way to go at both ends of the court before we can have those great expectations.”

Center Brian Williams had 23 points, including a spectacular one-handed dunk of a miss by Malik Sealy in the third quarter. Williams also had 10 rebounds.

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Williams was all smiles during the game, breaking into a wide grin after several fourth-quarter dunks.

“That was fun,” Williams said. “Some days you come to work and you know you’ve got a job to do, but some days you’re in a happy mood and some days you’re not.

“In this game, if you try and be out there smiling and having a good time you’re going to get your butt kicked, but we started to pull ahead and I was having fun.”

Sealy had 19 points before leaving with 7:05 left in the third quarter after he was elbowed in the nose.

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Forward Loy Vaught had 17 points and eight rebounds as the Clippers ended a two-game losing streak. Vaught made three consecutive jumpers as the Clippers, who have won five of six home games this season, outscored the Nets, 15-1, at the start of the final quarter.

Center Stanley Roberts returned after sitting out the last three games because of a sore right heel, getting two points and four rebounds in 10 minutes. Roberts, who entered the game in the third quarter, drew a technical foul after complaining to referee Roy Gulbeyan after he was called for a foul for elbowing Jayson Williams with 1:37 remaining in the quarter.

Fitch received a technical 28 seconds later for complaining to referee Suren Arzoumanian.

“That may be the first technical I’ve ever gotten without cursing,” Fitch said. “I tried to make the call, but my whistle didn’t work.”

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Forward Rodney Rogers drew a technical with 6.2 seconds left in the third quarter.

The game turned ugly when Williams knocked Clipper rookie guard Brent Barry to the court and accidentally kicked him in the head as he walked up court.

Guard Kenny Anderson had 26 pints off the bench for the Nets, who are winless in six road games.

The Clippers outscored the Nets, 41-16, in the final quarter, shooting 66.7%. Terry Dehere had 13 of his 19 points in the final quarter and Eric Piatkowski had 12 of his 15 in it.

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The game was a homecoming for former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon, who had four points, two assists and one rebound in 28 minutes as a reserve.

Clipper Notes

Forward Lamond Murray, who missed last Friday night’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks with flu, has missed 23 of 30 shots in three games as a reserve. Murray missed seven of 10 shots against the Nets, including all five he took in the first half.


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