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Clippers Double Their Pleasure

Pro basketball: L.A. cruises past Golden State for 30th victory, doubling last season's win total.

April 15, 2001|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND — The Clippers have seldom experienced a victory more gratifying than Saturday's 106-94 romp over the Golden State Warriors at the Arena.

As if they were making up for numerous close defeats on the road, the Clippers enjoyed a rare laugher against the injury-plagued Warriors and won the season series, 3-1. It was also their 30th victory.

With many of the 12,849 fans catching a glimpse of the Clippers at their best, L.A. put on an array of dazzling dunks, layups and no-look passes in a 38-15 run after halftime and cruised to their second win in a row. They also ended a nine-game road losing streak.

Point guard Jeff McInnis finished with 22 points and eight assists, Lamar Odom scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half and Corey Maggette added 17 for the Clippers, who shot 51.2%.

"I was kind of mad in the first half because we were letting [the Warriors] stick with us and we know we can beat them," said rookie Darius Miles, who had 13 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots in 33 minutes off the bench. "But we had a lot of fun in the second half."

With only two games remaining, the Clippers have doubled their win total from last season. That is an accomplishment in itself, considering they have lost 10 overtime games.

"We worked hard to be better than we were last year," said McInnis, who made seven of 10 field goals. "If we win 15 more games next year, we will be in the playoffs. But we know we could have won more but to win 30 shows what we could have done."

With an above .500 record at home assured, the Clippers are reaching many of the goals they set for themselves after the all-star break. And they displayed their open-court skills against the Warriors, who played without at least five regulars because of injuries.

Golden State, which was led by Antawn Jamison's 36 points and 10 rebounds, held a 52-50 lead at halftime but it was all Clippers after that.

"I told the guys that we have a golden opportunity and that we have to respond," Coach Alvin Gentry said about his talk to his team at intermission. "They did just that. We started playing Clipper basketball and. . . . Darius helped pick up our defense."

In the second half, the Clippers turned up their defensive pressure and the Warriors fell apart. After turning the ball over only five times over the first two quarters, Golden State had 10 in the final two.

Eric Piatkowski (10 points, including two three-point baskets) and Cherokee Parks got things going offensively by making outside shots. Once they were able to spread the Warriors' defense, Odom and McInnis went to work.

By the time Gentry turned to Miles and Maggette, the Clippers were rolling and Golden State didn't have an answer.

"I don't know if it was fatigue but we couldn't put the ball in the basket," said Golden State forward Corie Blount, who finished with seven points and a career-high 17 rebounds.

The Clippers opened up a 21-point lead early in the fourth quarter and it was showtime the rest of the game, which did not please Gentry.

"I wish we would just make good solid plays because I bet you our success ratio on those plays are less than 25%," Gentry said. "I think we get a little hung up on the spectacular play and we don't need to do that."

And just like a coach who wants to send a message to his players, Gentry was also not content with the Clippers' 30 wins.

"I really don't see any significance with 30 wins . . . We still have some way to go to catch teams that didn't even make the playoffs."

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