With Maggette and Kaman out, Clippers fall to Bobcats

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats didn't have to deal with the Los Angeles Clippers' two best players. Quickly, they were able to build a 20-point lead that came in handy when they had to weather a strong finish.

Gerald Wallace had 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds, Jason Richardson added 20 points, and the Bobcats hung on for a 107-100 victory on Monday night despite going the final 5:13 without making a field goal. Emeka Okafor had 14 points and nine rebounds.

"The effort was there, the passion was there, the teamwork was there," Wallace said. "Everybody played well. We passed the ball, we found open guys and knocked down shots. We were aggressive on defense and we forced the Clippers out of what they wanted to do with some of their key guys missing."

Center Chris Kaman, the NBA's third-leading rebounder and shot blocker, sat out his second straight game because of a bruised left shin. Corey Maggette, the Clippers' leading scorer, was sidelined by flulike symptoms. Therefore, embattled Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy was forced to use his 19th different starting lineup.

"Guys get sick or hurt and everybody else has to step up," Tim Thomas said. "It's been that way all year, but we've got enough guys to lace them up and play ball."

Josh Powell, playing for his fourth team in three seasons, started for the fifth time in 98 NBA games. He had 12 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes.

Rookie Al Thornton started in Maggette's small forward spot, getting eight points, six assists and three rebounds in 20 minutes before fouling out for the first time in his NBA career with 6:46 remaining.

"We have enough veterans on the team to squeak out a win. It's just mental stuff," Cuttino Mobley said. "Things like one-on-one coverages, pick-and-roll coverages and guys beating us off the dribble."

Thomas had a season-high 29 points and 13 rebounds, including a pair of layups and a 16-foot jumper during a 12-0 run that sliced a 17-point deficit to 101-96 with 22.5 seconds to play. But the Clippers had to keep fouling to get the ball back, and the Bobcats clinched it with four free throws by Matt Carroll and two by Raymond Felton.

"I was happy with our guys, the way they stuck with it and made the free throws down the stretch," coach Sam Vincent said. "A lot of guys had big nights. I thought guys came off the bench and really contributed. They played well and made some big shots. Our post play was good and it was a great team effort."

The Bobcats extended a 12-point lead to 99-80 with a 9-2 spurt early in the fourth quarter capped by Wallace's three-point play. Thornton got his sixth foul trying to prevent Wallace's layup.

The Bobcats increased their 10-point halftime lead to 73-53 as Felton hit a pair of 3-pointers 42 seconds apart to cap a 14-2 run with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

Charlotte made seven of 16 3-pointers. Richardson, who set a record for the fourth-year expansion team with seven in Saturday's loss to Philadelphia, made only one of them.

The Clippers were 0-for-8 from 3-point range, the third game this season in which they were blanked.

"This big difference in this game was obviously the 21 points off 3-pointers. That is the glaring statistic," Dunleavy said. "They had guys making shots who have not been shooting the ball great."

Game notes
The Bobcats made their first visit to Staples Center since Oct. 20, when F Adam Morrison tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a preseason loss to the Lakers. He underwent season-ending surgery three weeks later. ... This was the first time the Clippers hosted the Bobcats since Feb. 26, 2007, when point guard Shaun Livingston landed awkwardly on a missed layup attempt and dislocated his left kneecap. He is still recovering from the reconstructive surgery he had in mid-March. ... Felton had 10 points and eight assists after missing Saturday's game with a sprained left ankle. ... The Bobcats are 4-13 on the road. Their other three road victories were at Miami, Boston and Chicago.

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