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Barry Saves Ball and Day for Clippers

Pro basketball: His hustle play sets up winning free throws by Martin as L.A. wins fourth in a row.

March 01, 1997|CHRIS BAKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Brent Barry played only 10 minutes Friday night against the Toronto Raptors, but he made the play of the game as the Clippers extended their winning streak to four with a 94-92 victory before an announced 8,574 at the Sports Arena.

With the Clippers trailing by a point, Barry chased down the ball in the backcourt and fired a prayer that hit the rim with two seconds left on the shot clock.

Loy Vaught got the rebound and fed Darrick Martin, who was fouled by Doug Christie with 26 seconds remaining. Martin made two free throws to give the Clippers a 93-92 lead.

"The ball had been tipped out and as I was chasing the ball I saw that the shot clock was at four, so I knew by the time I got the ball I'd have time to turn and shoot and hopefully hit the rim," Barry said. "To be honest with you I thought that shot was going in.

"I've been working on that after practice. I was shooting them today. I'm glad I drew iron."

"Those are the times I live for," Martin said of the game-winning free throws. "That's what I dreamed about as a kid."

Martin gave the Clippers a two-point lead when he made the first of two free throws with 3.4 seconds left after Vaught blocked a layup by Toronto guard Damon Stoudamire with 19 seconds left.

The Raptors had a chance to win, but Walt Williams, who made four three-point shots, had his desperation three-point try at the buzzer hit the rim and bounce away.

"We like to keep the fans and coaches in suspense," said Martin, who had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists. "If [Williams] had made that, I told him I would have stepped all over him."

Malik Sealy had 22 points and Vaught had 18 points and eight rebounds as the Clippers (25-29) matched their longest winning streak of the season.

"We don't have a Michael Jordan or a Shaq, so everybody has to pull their own weight," Martin said.

The Clippers, who play the Nuggets on Sunday at Denver, haven't won five in a row since the first month of the 1995-96 season.

Barry had two points and three rebounds in the final quarter.

"At the end of the day we're finding a way to win," Vaught said. "It's been hard on Coach [Bill] Fitch's heart."

Entering the game with 10:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, Barry set up Terry Dehere for a three-point shot and made a jump shot as the Clippers took an 86-78 lead.

But the Raptors used a 10-2 run to tie it at 88 on a pair of free throws by Carlos Rogers with 3:09 remaining.

The Clippers have a winning streak, but Fitch wasn't celebrating.

"The effort is there," the coach said, "but we've got limitations. Sometimes we show them and sometimes we don't."

Charles Outlaw, who had started the last three games in place of Rodney Rogers, limped off the court with a bruised left knee with 10:42 remaining in the second period after colliding with Christie. Outlaw returned for the start of the third quarter.

Vaught made his first five shots and scored 12 points in the third quarter as the Clippers took a 78-72 lead into the fourth quarter.

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