Clippers Return to Form

Times Staff Writer

Consecutive blowout losses to upper-echelon teams last week didn’t bolster the Clippers’ confidence, or improve their standing in the Pacific Division.

It seemed a morale boost was necessary as the Clippers attempted to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff chase, and Sunday’s 105-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center met their needs.

Overmatched against the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, the Clippers reverted to their earlier-season form against the Warriors, winning their sixth straight in the series and improving to 4-3 in the final game of a 16-day homestand.


The Clippers dominated the Warriors, scoring 63 points in the first half to match their season-high total while taking an 11-point halftime lead.

They outrebounded Golden State, 49-27, and had six players in double figures. Swingman Cuttino Mobley delivered a strong bounce-back performance after subpar outings, scoring a team-high 22 points with nine assists and six rebounds.

The Clippers led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter and withstood a late charge by the Warriors, who went on a 16-2 run but failed to pull closer than 10 points.

No one could confuse the Warriors with the Suns or Mavericks, and the Clippers said that’s fine with them.

“That’s exactly what the team needs to do,” said power forward Elton Brand, who scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. “We were definitely disappointed after our last two efforts, and this is a team we’re vying with for playoff position.

“They’re one game under .500 now, but they’re right in that area. We wanted to protect our home court, and it was a good day. We had a balanced attack today.”


Although Brand scored well below his team-leading average of 24.5 points, it didn’t matter because many contributed.

“When you’re on the road, the one thing you have to do is be consistent defensively,” said Warrior point guard Baron Davis, who had 22 points and five assists. “It wasn’t about our offense. We scored enough points to win.”

Point guard Sam Cassell had 21 points and six assists. Center Chris Kaman continued his strong play, scoring 17 points with 15 rebounds, and swingman Quinton Ross had 11 points.

And then there was Chris Wilcox.

Coach Mike Dunleavy dusted off the seldom-used forward-center, who responded with a season-high 16 points.

“If we get balanced scoring like that, every night is going to be a good night,” Cassell said. “That means everybody is touching the ball. No one has to carry the whole load.”

Mobley carried a lot on his shoulders after the losses to Phoenix and Dallas.

He missed 17 of 23 shots and scored 14 points in the losses. With starting small forward Corey Maggette sidelined, Mobley has guarded bigger players on defense, which has had an adverse effect on his shooting, the Clippers said.


Cassell, among Mobley’s longtime friends, called him Saturday night, encouraging Mobley to keep pushing.

“I don’t complain,” Mobley said. “I get paid a lot of money, so whatever Coach wants me to do on the court, I do. I have a great life. I’ve got a beautiful son, got a beautiful family, so there’s no reason to complain when you’re making so much money. As long as I’m on the court helping the team, I’m good.

“In that Phoenix game, I got in foul trouble and I couldn’t help us, and I usually do well [against] Phoenix causing mismatches. Dallas just came out and attacked us, and that’s what good teams do.

“When Sam called me last night, he told me the team needs me to come hard. From now on, that’s what I’m going to do, what I have to do from the beginning. Whether I shoot 12 for 15 or seven for 19, I’m coming out hard every single night.”