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 Randolph, Clippers keep rolling with 98-88 win

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PostSubject: Randolph, Clippers keep rolling with 98-88 win   Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:12 am

OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) What the Los Angeles
Clippers used to get from Elton Brand they're now getting from Zach
Randolph, and it's proving to be a winning formula.Randolph had
22 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double, and
rookie Eric Gordon fueled a 10-point run in the fourth quarter as the
Clippers put away the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-88 Tuesday night to
stretch their win streak to three.Randolph, who was traded by
the New York Knicks on Nov. 21, has cleared 21 points in all nine of
his starts since joining Los Angeles and he picked up his 15th
double-double of the season."We just kind of plugged him into
the plays we had for Elton Brand,'' Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.
"They work just fine for him.''Brand, a two-time All-Star, was
averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for his career when he opted out of
his contract this offseason and signed a free-agent deal with the
Philadelphia 76ers. Dunleavy has contended that Brand had a verbal
agreement to re-sign with Los Angeles for another five years, but
decided to go elsewhere.Randolph is helping him forget about all
of that. After coming off the bench in his Clippers debut, he averaged
26 points in his first eight starts before facing Oklahoma City."He's
just got an ability to score, both in the low post and on
pick-and-rolls,'' Dunleavy said. "The guy competes on every possession.
That's what you're always looking for as a coach.''Gordon, who
scored the first six points in a 10-0 run that provided the Clippers
with an 87-73 lead, also finished with 22 points. Baron Davis scored
19, Marcus Camby added 13 points and 15 rebounds, and Al Thornton had
12 points as all of the Clippers starters' reached double figures.Durant
led Oklahoma City with 23 points, and Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox
scored 13 apiece. The Thunder are now 1-12 under interim coach Scott
Brooks, the same record they had when P.J. Carlesimo was fired."We
need to be better consistently. Right now, anything that we're doing on
the road or at home is not working,'' Wilcox said. "We've got to come
together, keep our heads up and just keep lifting each other up.''Randolph
was averaging 20.5 points with the Knicks before he was sent across the
country to a team that had started the season 2-9. Los Angeles has now
won three straight for the first time since starting last season 4-0."I
was playing like this in New York. I just want to win,'' Randolph said.
"That's what we've got to do. That's what it's all about.''Dunleavy
has even higher hopes because the current hot stretch has come without
Ricky Davis (knee) and Chris Kaman (foot). That's made Randolph's
presence even more important."Just to be able to have a go-to
guy in the low post, it stabilizes you. When you need a bucket, you've
got a place that you can go,'' Dunleavy said."Tonight was one of his poorer games for us. It looked pretty good from where most people sat.''The
Clippers led 15-4 after Randolph hit a hook shot in the lane to cap a
13-0 run early on, and the edge stretched to as many as 14 before
Oklahoma City started its comeback in the second period.Russell
Westbrook gave the Thunder their only two leads of the second half with
a pair of free throws and then a coast-to-coast layup that made it
59-58, but then Randolph and Camby went to work inside.The post
tandem scored three of Clippers' next four baskets off of offensive
rebounds, and Davis used a crafty pump fake to get Durant off his feet
for a foul with 1.8 seconds left in the third quarter. Davis cashed in
on all three free throws to push the lead to 70-65.His 3-pointer
from the top of the key extended the Clippers' edge to 77-69, and then
Gordon provided the finishing touches - with a little help from
Randolph. The 6-foot-9 big man had two of his four assists during the
Clippers' 10-point surge."Because of the attention he's going to
get in the low post, he's been doing a nice job for us passing the
ball,'' Dunleavy said. "People said when I got him that he's a black
hole, and I haven't seen that at all.''Notes: Brooks said he got
the following advice from Nuggets coach George Karl, who started his
coaching career 2-19 with Cleveland: "Hang in there. Continue to teach
and believe and work.'' Brooks was formerly an assistant to Karl in
Denver. "I have a great relationship with him. He's an incredible coach
that I've learned a lot under,'' Brooks said. ... Wilcox, who missed
two games with a dislocated left ring finger, had that finger taped to
his middle finger in his return. ... The first three shots of the game
didn't touch the rim. Damien Wilkins and Durant bracketed airballs for
the Thunder around Wilkins' block of Al Thornton's jumper in the lane.

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