Originally created 11/04/02

Clippers top Pistons



LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers escaped the ranks of winless NBA teams.

Michael Olowokandi had 19 points and tied a career-high with 20 rebounds to lead Los Angeles over the Detroit Pistons 74-72 Sunday.

"Finally something went right," said Elton Brand, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds. "Something to smile about."

The Clippers began rallying in the third quarter, when Brand and Corey Maggette were off the floor. Rookie Marko Jaric and 7-foot-1 Chinese center Wang Zhizhi contributed in their places.

Wang got his first extended playing time of the season, scoring five points in 10 minutes of the second half. Jaric had three points and four rebounds in 24 minutes.

"Wang came in and gave us a huge lift," Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said. "You can see that he can change the game. I thought he made a couple of real nice plays."

Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 25 points. Clifford Robinson added 13 points, but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game. Ben Wallace had 16 rebounds.

Detroit won all eight of its preseason games and its first two of the regular season.

"It hurts," guard Jon Barry said. "Preseason doesn't mean a lot, but it was still nice."

Detroit didn't give up the lead until three-tenths of a second remained in the third quarter, when Keyon Dooling hit a 3-pointer to send Los Angeles into the fourth ahead 58-55.

But the Pistons quickly tied it on a 3-pointer by Barry to start the quarter.

Neither team led by more than four points in the final period.

After Corliss Williamson gave Detroit a 70-66 lead, the Clippers outscored the Pistons 8-2 to close out the game.

"It feels good to be a part of this win," Olowokandi said. "As a team we played well and the second unit came in and played well. Wang played some huge minutes."

Brand fell onto the scorer's table, got up, ran down the court and scored to tie the game at 70 with 3:57 remaining.

Olowokandi hit one of two free throws, then Maggette scored off a turnover by Robinson for a 73-72 lead. Brand made one of two free throws for a 74-72 lead.

"If we continue to turn the ball over, it's not going to help us," Robinson said. "We got to make passes before we get in jams. We moved the ball. We just didn't make good decisions when it came to taking shots."

Andre Miller, who had 10 points and nine assists, missed two free throws with 59 seconds left, but the Pistons couldn't take advantage. Barry missed and Williamson had his shot blocked in the final minute.

"We had it under control," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "We became undisciplined and took too many shots."

The Clippers erased that deficit with a 20-3 run in the third. Olowokandi had eight points, Wang hit a 6-foot turnaround jumper that tied it and Dooling's 3-pointer created Los Angeles' first lead.

Notes: Clippers starting G Quentin Richardson didn't return for the second half because of a hyperextended right knee. ... Olowokandi also had 20 rebounds against Boston last Dec. 29. ... The Pistons continue their West Coast trip Monday night in Phoenix with the first of 23 back-to-back games this season. ... The Clippers open a four-game road trip Wednesday in Philadelphia, where they've lost five straight. ... G Eric Piatkowski played in his 557th career game with the Clippers, leaving him two away from overtaking Loy Vaught for second on the franchise list. ... Brand grabbed 13 rebounds, giving him 2,509 in his four-year career. ... A crowd of 14,275 watched before clearing Staples Center to make way for the Portland-Lakers game.