Clippers-Nets Preview

If the New Jersey Nets are to accomplish a feat they haven’t

reached in more than two years, they’ll have to do it without

superstar point guard Deron Williams.

The Los Angeles Clippers won’t have their leading scorer, and

they’ve been waiting even longer for this sort of winning


Williams will miss his second straight game Friday night while

tending to the birth of his child when New Jersey hosts Los

Angeles, which again will be without Eric Gordon.

Missing Williams on Wednesday, the Nets (20-43) beat Golden

State 94-90 for their third straight victory behind 26 points and

10 rebounds from Brook Lopez. New Jersey hasn’t won four

consecutive games since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009.

Williams, averaging 15.8 points and 15.2 assists in five games

with the Nets, is expected to rejoin the team Saturday.

Lopez helped make up for the missing production with his second

straight double-double, which he hadn’t done since March 24-26.

”The team definitely fought through on this one,” Lopez said.

”I knew we’d pull it out just because of the way we were playing

defense. We were getting stops.”

Anthony Morrow added 22 points, and Kris Humphries had 11 and 15

rebounds for his career-high fifth consecutive double-double.

”Our big guys were terrific,” said Sasha Vujacic, who had 16

points. ”We were able to limit their shots and easy buckets.”

Lopez scored a team-high 24 points Nov. 15 in a 110-96 victory

against the Clippers.

Blake Griffin hasn’t scored less than the 11 points he had in

that contest since, though he came close in a rough performance


Los Angeles (25-40) beat Eastern Conference-leading Boston

108-103 despite only 12 points and seven rebounds from Griffin on

4-of-14 shooting. Griffin had recorded a double-double in eight

straight games prior to Wednesday.

The Clippers have won a season-high four straight following a

stretch in which they lost 12 of 14. They haven’t won five in a row

since Nov. 2-12, 2006.

Mo Williams scored 28 points, his most in five games since being

acquired from Cleveland.

”There’s so much attention to Blake, but you win as a team,”

coach Vinny Del Negro said. ”The reason we’re playing a little bit

better is that we have weapons.”

However, one of those weapons may not be around any time soon to

help extend the winning streak.

Gordon, who scored 30 points in the November meeting with New

Jersey, re-injured his wrist Saturday against Denver. He’ll miss

his third straight game Friday, and Del Negro said he isn’t sure

when Gordon will return.

”Let’s just see how he responds to the therapy,” Del Negro

said. ”It’s his shooting hand, so it might make it a little more

difficult. But all signs point to him returning. But when? That’s

another story.”

DeAndre Jordan scored a season-high 21 points, his most since

tying a career high with 23 on Jan. 12, 2010.

The Nets have not swept the Clippers in a season series since