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Clippers Are Burned by Hot Rice : Pro basketball: Hornet standout continues his torrid shooting and scores 31 points in Charlotte's 109-99 victory.

December 17, 1995|CHRIS BAKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Imagine, Glen Rice in a Clipper uniform.

It almost happened.

But the Clippers passed up a chance to acquire Rice before the start of the 1993-94 season when they rejected a trade that would have sent disgruntled forward Danny Manning to the Miami Heat for Rice and Willie Burton.

Rice, who was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in the six-player deal that sent Alonzo Mourning to Miami last month, is well on his way to becoming an all-star.

Rice had 31 points as the Hornets beat the Clippers, 109-99, Saturday night before an announced 9,581 at the Sports Arena.

Clipper center Brian Williams thinks his team could have used Rice.

"People tried to say he was too one-dimensional, but he can shoot the ball," Williams said. "That's a great dimension, though."

Rice is happy that things turned out the way they did and he wasn't traded to the Clippers.

"It would have been an adjustment for me," he said. "Was I scared? No, there wasn't anything to be scared about because if it would have happened then I wouldn't have been able to do anything about it."

Rice got off to good start, scoring 18 points in the first half, including 11 in the first quarter.

"I think it's important for everyone to get off to a fast start," Rice said. "I try to get into the flow defensively and then offensively just work into it."

Rice, who had scored 33 points in each of his last two games, made nine of 15 shots, including five three-point baskets as the Hornets (11-13) beat the Clippers (8-15) for the fourth consecutive game.

"It would be a shame if he didn't make the all-star team," Hornet Coach Allan Bristow said. "Glen Rice is a joy to watch."

Said Rice: "I appreciate it, but the All-Star game isn't first on my agenda."

Larry Johnson had 20 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and Scott Burrell added 18 points.

The Clippers, who've lost 10 of 11 games, fell into last place in the Pacific Division, a half-game behind the Golden State Warriors.

Informed that the Clippers were in last place, Williams said: "Thank you for cheering up my holiday, Grinch.

"We never had a run that got us anywhere. We didn't get off the ground."

The Clippers, who trailed by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter, ended with a 21-6 run in the final 4:01 to avoid getting blown out.

"It's not a night you'd like to have a replay of," Clipper Coach Bill Fitch said.

Guard Terry Dehere had a career-high 28 points and seven assists in 30 minutes as a reserve and Pooh Richardson and Williams each had 18 points.

"No W, no satisfaction." Dehere said.

The Hornets, who tied a team record by making 14 three-point shots in Thursday night's 116-109 loss at Portland, were ranked first in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage (42%) coming into the game.

Rice, who made six three-point baskets against the Trail Blazers, was ranked fourth (48.3%) and Del Curry (47.1%), who set a team-record by making seven three-point baskets against Portland, was ranked 10th in the NBA.

"It's just another day we've got to come out here and lock up a bunch of three-point shooters," Fitch said before the game.

Fitch's worst fears were realized as Rice made three of four three-point attempts in the first half as the Hornets took a 55-43 halftime lead.

The Hornets, who shot 58.1%, made five of eight three-point baskets (62.5%) in the first half. Rice made five of seven shots in the first half and former UCLA center George Zidek made all four of his shots.

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