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Clippers beat Bobcats 98-94

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rasual Butler scored 20 points and Chris Kaman had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Los Angeles Clippers' 98-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

The Clippers, coming off a 99-89 win over Sacramento on Saturday improved to 2-5 under interim coach Kim Hughes.

Baron Davis was back in uniform for Los Angeles, getting 10 points and 10 assists after missing two games because of a sore lower back. Drew Gooden and Travis Outlaw both made their debuts for the Clippers after joining them in separate trades with Washington and Houston before last Thursday's deadline. Gooden, the first player off the bench, had 10 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes.

Gerald Wallace had 32 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, and Boris Diaw had 20 points. But, Stephen Jackson was 1 for 16 overall with seven points in 39 minutes before fouling out with 2:08 remaining and the score tied at 87.

During one 44-second stretch of the second quarter, Los Angeles had five players on floor who weren't even with the team last season — Gooden, Outlaw, Butler, Craig Smith and point guard Steve Blake, who was acquired from Houston last Tuesday. Hughes, trying to incorporate a more up-tempo style with the Clippers, didn't get any fastbreak points by his offense the entire game.

Jackson, the team's leading scorer in 10 of the previous 12 games, had scored 30 or more points in eight of the last 25 contests — including a franchise-record 43 on Jan. 12 against Houston. It was the first time the league's 11th leading scorer failed to reach double digits in 46 games since the Bobcats acquired him in a four-player trade with Golden State on Nov. 16.

The Bobcats are 3-6 this month, after going 12-4 in January to put themselves in contention for their first playoff berth in the franchise's six-year history. They slipped into a tie with Milwaukee in the race for the eighth and final seed at 27-28, following the Bucks' 83-67 win at New York.

Charlotte coach Larry Brown had to improvise considerably without the services of 7-footers DeSagana Diop (sprained right knee) and Tyson Chandler (sore left ankle). Nazr Mohammed, plagued recently by back spasms, missed his first game after playing 12 scoreless minutes with five rebounds in Saturday's 93-88 loss at Milwaukee.

Center Theo Ratliff made his first start in three games since joining the Bobcats last Thursday in a trade with San Antonio, and his fourth start in 24 games this season overall, scoring 10 points in 31 minutes. Tyrus Thomas, who recorded his first career double-double in the previous game, had only 10 points and four rebounds in his third game with Charlotte following last week's trade with Chicago.

The Clippers led by as many as 13 before the Bobcats narrowed the gap to 53-50 by halftime.

Jackson, coming off a 35-point effort against the Bucks in which he was 14 for 25 from the field, missed his first eight shots while Los Angeles built a 52-43 lead on Kaman's 16 footer with 3:18 left in the second quarter.

NOTES: Hughes got his first chance to match wits with Larry Brown, his former coach with the Denver Nuggets. "One of my best memories of Kim is that he used to struggle from the free-throw line and tell me it was because he saw people in the stands moving," Brown said, referring to Hughes' dismal .333 free-throw percentage in five NBA seasons (62 for 186). "But he was a really, really underrated defender and he had a good feel for the game." ... Mohammed's injury left F Boris Diaw as the only Bobcats player to appear in all 55 games. "Nazr said he's going to get on the bike. This might be his Tour de France. I don't know," Brown joked. "He wants to be dressed, just in case, because we don't have the bodies." ... This game began a stretch of four in a row at Staples Center in which the visiting team used to be coached by Brown — including Wednesday's Clippers-Detroit contest. The Lakers host Philadelphia on Friday and Denver on Sunday. The Bobcats are Brown's ninth team in 26 seasons as an NBA head coach, including the Clippers.