The pairing of Elton Brand's former and current teams lost its luster with Brand not making the trip. The former Clippers star is out for a month with a dislocated right shoulder.
Thaddeus Young added 20 points for the 76ers and Andre Miller had 15 points and nine assists against his former team.
Eric Gordon added 21 points and Marcus Camby had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, who fell apart after tying the game with 3½ minutes remaining. They were outscored 14-6 from there.
Some fans chanted "Fire Dunleavy" in the closing minute, referring to Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy.
The Clippers trailed 79-74 before Thornton and Camby combined to score 12 in a row and tie the game at 86 with 3½ minutes remaining.
Then came the miscues. Baron Davis, who finished with 11 points and eight assists, missed a jumper and threw the ball away. Davis hit a late 3-pointer that drew the Clippers within four, but it wasn't enough.
The Clippers led by eight points in the third quarter, which ended with the 76ers ahead 69-65.
Philly stretched its lead to 76-70 early in the final quarter, helped by five consecutive points by Royal Ivey.
Neither team led by more than five in the first half, when Dunleavy picked up a technical foul for the third consecutive game.
Notes: The 76ers improved to 1-3 on their season-high, six-game road trip, with Dallas and San Antonio remaining. ... Thornton's halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer went over the top of the basket, bounced around and then dropped into the basket, eliciting a loud reaction from the crowd, but it was disallowed.
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