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Thomas’ long-range shots help Brand find right zone

Times Staff Writer

All-Star forward Elton Brand benefited from Tim Thomas’ long-range shooting in Sunday’s 92-76 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center.

In an effort to make things difficult for Brand and center Chris Kaman, the Hornets often played zone in the first half. But Hornets Coach Byron Scott changed course in the second half because Thomas made four of six three-pointers in helping the Clippers take a 53-42 halftime lead.

“They were trying to play us in a zone, and Tim banged down some threes,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “That opened up some spacing and we took advantage of it.”

With more room to maneuver in the low post, Brand had 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in his most productive game since scoring 28 points in a season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns.

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The Hornets continued to double-team Brand, but he didn’t have to contend with zone defenses after halftime.

“Just being out there opens the floor up so much,” said Thomas, who finished with 12 points. “I was telling E.B. that with me and him in the game, he should always roll [to the basket] because if guys go to him, I’m going to be open nine times out of 10.

“If a guy stays at home on me, then E.B. is going one on one, especially if we have the court spaced like we did today.

“That’s what we’re trying to do when we’re in the game together.”

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Kaman missed his three shots and scored only four points in almost 27 minutes.

Kaman, who sat out most of the exhibition season because of a hamstring injury, is averaging 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. He’s shooting 37% from the field.

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Sam Cassell and Corey Maggette are seeking sponsors for a charity event to benefit underprivileged children, an associate of Cassell’s said.

For more information, contact E Sports at (310) 867-9436 or via e-mail at esportswerone@aol.com.

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jason.reid@latimes.com

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