Clippers 92, Wizards 78
With one victory, the Los Angeles Clippers put a long string of road losses and a forgettable season behind them.
On the other side, frustration mounted for the Washington Wizards after one more loss in a season full of them.
The Clippers beat the Wizards 92-78 Sunday to snap an eight-game road losing streak and pick up their 20th win, one more than last season's total.
``It just shows you we're a better team than we were last year,'' said Clippers guard Baron Davis, who had 11 points and 11 assists. ``It just means that we still have a chance to have a great season, a winning season, and that's the most important thing.''
Los Angeles (20-23) had six players in double figures and moved the ball around, especially at the start. The Clippers had 11 assists on 13 field goals in the first quarter, and finished with 26 assists on 37 baskets in the game. Chris Kaman led Los Angeles with 20 points, Rasual Butler had 14 and Marcus Camby scored 12 with 19 rebounds.
The road win came on the second contest of an eight-game road trip for the Clippers.
``It feels really good,'' said forward Al Thornton, who had 10 points. ``We're improving, we're healthy, we're playing together, and our chemistry is better. Our goal is to be .500 by the All-Star break. I think it's attainable.''
Both teams finished with 19-63 records last season but are now headed in seemingly opposite directions. While the Clippers were reflecting on their improved outlook after Sunday's game, the Wizards were again left to explain what had gone wrong. Washington is now 14-29 and has lost three straight, including a 112-88 loss against Miami on Friday.
``In our last two games we've been horrendous at the beginning of games and the beginning of halves,'' Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. ``Our starters haven't given us a consistent effort to start games, and our bench, they talk about playing and wanting to play - they've had opportunities. They continue to not produce.''
Antawn Jamison was one of the few bright spots for Washington, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Brendan Haywood added 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Jamison was held to a total of 15 points in the past two games on a combined 6-of-24 shooting, the only time this season he has failed to reach double figures in back-to-back games. He avoided his first such three-game streak since Feb. 7-10, 2004.
However, he was left shaking his head after Washington had a season-low 10 points in the fourth quarter to let the Clippers pull away.
``It's not like we're doing it on purpose,'' Jamison said. ``If I knew the answer to it, the solution to it, it would have been done a long time ago. We preach about it before every game, and we still get the same results.''
Los Angeles took the lead in the game's opening minutes and never relinquished it, although the momentum swung back and forth as the teams traded long runs in the second and third quarters. The Clippers led 71-68 going into the final quarter, and held Washington to 3 of 16 from the field in the fourth.
``We played good in spurts tonight, and at the end we played good enough to win,'' Kaman said.
NOTES: Los Angeles G Eric Gordon (sprained left toe) missed his second straight game. Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said G Sebastian Telfair (ruptured groin) would be out four to six weeks. ... Thornton left the game in the third quarter and received four stitches on his right leg before returning. ... Wizards G Mike James made his first appearance since breaking a finger on Nov. 7. James had 11 points. ... Jamison has a double-double in his last five games against the Clippers. ... A group of Los Angeles players and coaches toured the White House Saturday, but did not meet President Barack Obama, Dunleavy said.