Bobcats-Clippers Preview

Looking to bounce back from their most lopsided loss of the

season, the Los Angeles Clippers should have a good chance to get

back on track at home after their winning streak there was

snapped.

The first-place Clippers seek their sixth straight victory over

the Charlotte Bobcats, who will try to avoid a 17th consecutive

road loss to a Western Conference opponent Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (21-12) saw its five-game run at Staples Center end

as Phoenix closed to within a half-game of the Pacific Division

leaders with a 107-88 victory Monday.

The Clippers committed 20 turnovers and shot a season-worst 36.5

percent, losing for the third time in four games overall. They had

averaged 110.6 points and 46.4 percent shooting in their previous

five home games.

”On a night like this when our offense isn’t going, we have to

be able to rely on our defense,” guard Chris Paul said. “We

couldn’t.”

After allowing the Suns to shoot 48.2 percent with 12

3-pointers, Los Angeles may be able to tighten things up against a

Charlotte team that ranks near the bottom of the league with 92.5

points per game, a 42.1 field-goal percentage and a 32.5 mark from

3-point range.

Paul and Blake Griffin hope to regroup after combining for 26

points and shooting 10 of 29. Griffin had totaled 75 and shot 59.6

from the field in the previous two contests, while Paul scored 55

and made 53.3 percent.

Though Paul was held to seven points and 3-of-7 shooting in a

106-84 win over visiting Charlotte on Feb. 26, Griffin made 11 of

14 shots en route to a team-high 24 points.

While the Bobcats (14-18) have improved this season, they’re

looking to avoid a season-worst fourth straight loss after dropping

their first two on a season-high five-game trip.

Charlotte’s last six losses have come by an average of 3.3

points, but it’s lost 16 consecutive road games to West foes by a

19.2 margin dating to last season.

The Bobcats fell to 0-4 in such matchups this season after

Utah’s Trey Burke made a go-ahead layup over Kemba Walker with 19

seconds left in Monday’s 83-80 loss. Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson

finished with 19 points.

”It’s a make-or-miss league and they made it and we missed,”

said coach Steve Clifford after his club’s fourth loss in five

games. “That’s happened to us the last three nights. We’ve gotten

good shots by the right people and if we’re going to win, they’re

going to have to go in the basket.”

They didn’t for Walker and Jefferson, who shot a combined 14 for

40 from the field (35.0 percent) as the Bobcats made 36.9 percent

overall.

Though he was 8 for 23 on Monday, Jefferson has played well with

22.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in his last four on the

road.

Walker, averaging a team-high 18.6 points, has shot just 29.6

percent in his last three games despite going 6 for 11 from 3-point

range. He had 15 points while making 5 of 15 from the field but

Henderson scored 24 in the February loss at Los Angeles.

For the first time in franchise history, the Clippers are

heading into New Year’s Day without a losing streak of more than

two games in a full season.

They’ve won six of eight meetings in Los Angeles.