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Clippers lose ground to Warriors, 99-89

Golden State is too fast for L.A., which has a long road ahead and is 8-21 away from home.

March 10, 2007|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND — Presumably, the Clippers won't qualify for the playoffs without at least a few more road victories.

Whether the Clippers are capable of succeeding down the stretch away from their home court, however, remained in doubt Friday night after the Golden State Warriors raced past them in the first half and held on for a 99-89 win in front of 18,177 at Oracle Arena.

The NBA's top fastbreak team ran well and often early in its third consecutive victory, challenging the Clippers to try to keep pace while building an 18-point lead in the third quarter.

The Clippers eventually pulled close in the fourth -- in part because Warriors point guard Baron Davis was in foul trouble in the second half -- and trailed by four points with 5 minutes 39 seconds to play on Daniel Ewing's bank shot.

But Davis returned and the Warriors completed the victory.

Davis scored on a runner to give the Warriors a six-point lead, and then finished the Clippers with a minute remaining. Davis' 18-foot fadeaway jumper put the Warriors ahead, 97-89, and capped his 25-point effort.

With 21 regular-season games remaining, the Clippers will be a visiting team 12 times, including in six games on a 10-day trip that begins Monday.

The road to a playoff berth could be determined on the road for the Clippers, who haven't done well away from Staples Center.

"We know we haven't played well on the road, but we've got to just put that behind us, dig down deep and get it done," said Elton Brand, who struggled shooting while scoring only 11 points. "We know what we're trying to do, so it's all on us. We just have to find a way. It's real simple now."

The Clippers (29-32) have lost their last two games and three of four. They remained eighth in the Western Conference (the last spot to earn a playoff berth) despite having an 8-21 road record.

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 20 points, but was four for 10 from the field.

The Warriors executed their defensive plan well against Brand, harassing the Clippers' leading scorer into a four-for-13 performance.

Sam Cassell returned to the lineup after sitting out the last three games because of a groin injury but was limited to five minutes. The co-captain missed his three field-goal attempts.

The Warriors (29-35) lead the league with an average of 20.1 fastbreak points and produced 23 against the Clippers, who only nine.

Davis was the catalyst, pushing the Warriors to run at every opportunity. In three games since returning from an injury, Davis is averaging 20.6 points.

Golden State outrebounded the Clippers, 48-35. The Warriors also had 58 points inside. The Clippers had 32.

The Clippers have remained in the chase for a playoff berth despite losing point guard Shaun Livingston for the season because of a potentially career-ending knee injury, and playing without Cassell for stretches this season.

"We've weathered a lot, and we still have more to weather, we've got to be very tough-minded and tenacious, given our point-guard situation," Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Basically, we've been going without our top two guys, and we don't know what we'll get out of Sam the rest of the way."

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jason.reid@latimes.com

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KEYS TO THE GAME

* It seems Baron Davis is sound. Back from an injury, the Warriors point guard set a fast tempo and scored 25 points. The Warriors are 3-0 since Davis returned to the lineup.

* The Warriors had a good plan against Elton Brand. The Clippers' leading scorer had little room to operate and shot four for 13 from the field.

* The Clippers were on the road. They're only 8-21 as a visiting team.

-- JASON REID

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