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Maggette is not about to get a free pass from Brand

Times Staff Writer

Corey Maggette tried to ignore the heckler while preparing to shoot a free throw during practice, but Elton Brand just wouldn’t shut up.

Brand playfully jabbed at Maggette, his longtime teammate and friend, making critical comments about Maggette’s free-throw shooting this season. The critique continued until Maggette finally acknowledged Brand with a nod and smile.

“He’s shooting free throws just like Shaq,” said Brand of Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal, a career 52.8% shooter at the line. “He’s our Shaq.”

Well, not really.

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Maggette has struggled at the line this season, but he’s still not in O’Neal’s league. In 37 games, Maggette is shooting 79.9% from the line. He has converted 81.8% of free throws in his career.

The seven-year veteran recently suffered a hyperextended knee, and he said the injury has affected him most while shooting free throws.

“I could be doing a little better than I am now because I have been shooting like Shaq from the free-throw line,” Maggette said. “I have to remember to bend my knees more, I have to concentrate on it, because I feel it in my knee when I’m shooting.”

Maggette, who has continued to receive treatment on his knee, made seven of eight free throws and scored 15 points in the Clippers’ 115-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at Staples Center.

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“My knee isn’t 100%, but it’s getting there, so that’s a positive, and I don’t plan on being Shaq for the whole year,” Maggette said. “That’s not my plan at all.”

TONIGHT

vs. New Jersey, 7:30, TNT

Site -- Staples Center.

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Radio -- 830.

Records -- Clippers 20-21, Nets 20-22.

Record vs. Nets (2005-06) -- 1-1.

Update -- The Clippers, who have won three in a row, are looking to move back to .500 for the first time since Dec. 11. Nets swingman Richard Jefferson is out indefinitely after undergoing ankle surgery Monday.

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jason.reid@latimes.com


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