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As Game Wears On, Clippers Wear Down : Pro basketball: With Manning and Williams out, they blow 11-point lead and fall to SuperSonics, 100-98.


With the playoffs approaching, the Clippers had hoped to build some momentum in their final two regular-season games.

But the Clippers, who squandered an 11-point third-quarter lead and lost to the Seattle SuperSonics, 100-98, before a crowd of 15,989 Thursday night at the Sports Arena, didn't inspire much confidence as they approach their first-round series against the Houston Rockets.

Playing without forward Danny Manning, who missed his second consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle, and reserve forward John Williams, sidelined because of an ankle injury, the Clippers ran out of gas in the fourth quarter, scoring only two baskets in the final 5:45. The Clippers shot only 38.1% in the fourth quarter as their eight-game home winning streak ended.

"I think we really got tired," Clipper Coach Larry Brown said. "We were missing a lot of pieces, and I think we just got worn down a little bit. I don't want to speak on behalf of (Seattle Coach George Karl), but I think he'd probably agree that his defense was the difference in the fourth quarter."

Trailing, 90-85, Seattle outscored the Clippers, 9-1, to take a 94-91 lead when Sam Perkins banked in a three-point shot with 3:55 to play.

After Clipper center Stanley Roberts, who had a career-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, made a free throw to cut the lead to 94-92 with 3:43 to play, Seattle forward Eddie Johnson, who had 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, made an eight-foot jumper to give the SuperSonics a 96-92 lead.

Roberts made two free throws after he was fouled by Perkins with 2:43 to play to cut the deficit to 96-94, but the Perkins made two free throws and Nate McMillan made one one to give the SuperSonics a five-point lead with 1:17 to play.

Roberts' dunk cut it to three with 1:13 remaining, but Vincent Askew made a free throw with 11 seconds to play to make it 100-96.

Roberts scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds in the first three quarters as the Clippers built an 11-point third-quarter lead.

"Stanley was tremendous," Brown said. "We didn't know if he was going to be able to play tonight (Roberts strained his neck in practice Wednesday) and without Danny and John we didn't have a lot of depth, so he probably played a little longer than he might have otherwise.

Roberts, who was listed as questionable before the game, looked fine Thursday night, scoring 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the first half as the Clippers took a 60-54 halftime lead.

Roberts, who was coming off his best game of the month after scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds in Tuesday night's victory at Dallas, had nine points in the second quarter.

"I was stepping it up because Danny Manning was not playing," Roberts said. "Somebody had to do it. We were just trying to play hard and build toward the playoffs. Hakeem Olajuwon is going to get his points. We'll just have to stop everybody else."

Clipper Notes

Sunday's regular-season finale against the Portland Trail Blazers, originally scheduled for 12:30 p.m., has been switched to 3 p.m. at the Sports Arena. . . . Clipper guard Gary Grant had a career-high 10 assists. He also had eight steals and scored six points. . . . Seattle forward Sean Kemp replaced Sam Perkins in the starting lineup and scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Perkins had 27 points off the bench.

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