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Clippers show character in victory

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TORONTO — The Los Angeles Clippers learned a lesson from their toughest loss of the season and weren't about to squander a lead this time.

Lamar Odom and Michael Olowokandi each scored 16 points as the Clippers ended a four-game losing streak with a 79-72 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

"This is a good win for us, especially after the disaster in Charlotte," said Los Angeles coach Alvin Gentry, whose team blew an eight-point lead with 1:25 remaining on Friday. "A win against this Toronto team shows a lot of character."

Elton Brand added 15 rebounds and 12 points for the Clippers, who are just 3-12 on the road this season.

Brand said he had trouble sleeping after Friday's loss.

"I couldn't believe we lost that game," Brand said. "We could have fell into a funk after a tough overtime loss, but we came back and beat a solid Toronto Raptor ballclub."

Vince Carter had 31 points for the Raptors, who didn't have any anybody else score for almost 19 minutes in the second half.

The Raptors shot 26 percent after the Clippers used a zone defense after the first quarter.

"It's not my job to figure out what we need to do," Toronto's Antonio Davis said. "I put that in the hands of the coaches. Maybe we need another shooter on the floor."

Olowokandi, guarded by Hakeem Olajuwon, had 10 points in the third quarter, including six straight, as Los Angeles built a 10-point lead.

"It was probably the most consecutive baskets I've ever made," Olowokandi said.

Carter narrowed the lead to six by the end of the period by scoring 10 straight on an array of difficult jumpers and finger rolls.

"He tried to come back all by himself," Brand said.

Darius Miles' hook shot, Brand's layup and Quentin Richardson's jumper made it a 12-point lead for Los Angeles with 5:20 remaining.

The Raptors narrowed it to five on Olajuwon's two free throws, Carter's fadeaway and Chris Childs' difficult jumper with 1:17 left, but Toronto didn't score again.

Earl Boykins' two free throws with 29 seconds left iced it.

"We needed this game," Odom said. "We had mental breakdowns against Charlotte at the end, and today we wanted to focus and come back strong."

Olowokandi added 11 rebounds and went 7-for-14 from the field.

The Raptors, who shot just 33 percent, have scored 100 points just four times in their last 31 games.

"We have to come out with more fire," Childs said. "We're the hunted. Teams are coming after us. We're not sneaking up on anyone."