Already in the middle of a challenging season, the Golden State Warriors might face another obstacle as they try to avoid matching their longest skid in eight seasons.
In their attempt to avoid a 10th straight defeat, the Warriors
could be without their top two scorers Wednesday night against the
Monta Ellis' status is unknown after he suffered a sprained left knee late in a 127-117 home loss to Dallas on Monday night. Despite Golden State's struggles, Ellis is in the midst of a breakout campaign with a career-best 26.2 points per game, sixth in the NBA.
"I don't know what to tell you with another injury we don't need," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "We didn't need any of them. I hope it's not serious."
An MRI on Tuesday initially determined the injury was mild, but Ellis' status won't be known until after he's re-evaluated Wednesday. Plagued by injuries for much of this season, Golden State might also be without second-leading scorer Corey Maggette (20.8 ppg) for a second consecutive game because of a dislocated left ring finger.
For a team that relies on its scoring to overcome a porous defense, those two losses might be too tough to overcome. The Warriors (13-37) have averaged 107.0 points this season, third-best in the NBA, but they are also giving up a league-worst 111.6.
In the past seven games, they've allowed an average of 116.6 points as they've come within one loss of their first 10-game skid since March 9-24, 2002. The franchise's worst losing streak was 17 from Dec. 20, 1964-Jan. 26, 1965.
The Warriors are also looking to avoid a season-high fifth straight home loss, which would be their longest slide in Oakland since March 2002.
To avoid another defeat, Golden State could use a better performance than in its 118-90 home loss to the Clippers on Nov. 6. Anthony Morrow, who had a season-high 33 points in Monday's defeat, had a team-high 18 against Los Angeles, but the Warriors shot 34.5 percent.
Since dropping five in a row to Golden State, Los Angeles has won two of the last three meetings, but it enters Wednesday's game having lost three straight, including a 109-99 home defeat against Utah on Tuesday night.
The Clippers (21-30) had five players in double figures, led by Chris Kaman's 19, but they were outscored 29-15 in the final quarter.
"We came out with energy and intensity and we had a good first half," Kaman said. "We just turned the ball over way too much - especially myself. We made it too easy for them. We gave them 27 points off (16) turnovers, and that makes a huge difference."
The Clippers have dropped 13 of 15 on the road but snapped a seven-game slide in Oakland with the win earlier this season. Baron Davis and Eric Gordon scored 25 points apiece in that victory, and Kaman added 22 as Los Angeles shot 57.9 percent.
After Wednesday's contest, Kaman will head to his first All-Star game. He leads the Clippers with a career-best 20.1 points but has averaged 8.7 points in 19 career games against the Warriors, his lowest mark against any opponent.