Clippers-Bobcats Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 12, 2012
The Los Angeles Clippers' latest surge is their best in more than two decades, and there's little reason to believe the woeful Charlotte Bobcats will slow them down. Los Angeles looks to match its franchise-record eight-game winning streak Wednesday night while dealing host Charlotte a ninth consecutive defeat. The Clippers (15-6) have followed up a four-game skid from Nov. 21-26 with seven straight victories, including a 94-89 win over Chicago on Tuesday to begin a four-game road trip. Blake Griffin scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Chris Paul added 18 points for Los Angeles, which last won a team-record eight in a row from Nov. 30-Dec. 15, 1991. ''Games on the road like this, after we had a little bit of success, six games, coming on the road, you don't want to have a letdown,'' Griffin said. "These are the kinds of wins you need.'' The Clippers, who play at Milwaukee on Saturday and end their trip Monday at Detroit, have held opponents to an average of 91.6 points during their streak. "We knew we were on the road and we'd have to withstand a run we knew they would make. Our defense kept us in the game," Paul said. ''We want our identity to be a defensive identity. We're still trying to build that.'' Paul, who grew up relatively close to Charlotte in Winston-Salem and played two seasons at Wake Forest, looks to help guide Los Angeles to its fourth straight victory over a Bobcats team that hasn't won since it matched last season's win total Nov. 24. Charlotte (7-13) fell 104-96 at home to Golden State on Monday. Kemba Walker scored 24 points and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 17 for the Bobcats, who were behind by as many as 21 to the Warriors before making a fourth-quarter run. ''We've got to play that way from the start,'' said Walker, who scored 17 points in the second half. ''That's it. We waited too long to play that way. I take full responsibility. I've got to set the tone early and I didn't do that.'' Coach Mike Dunlap's team has been terribly inconsistent during its slump, suffering defeats by 45 points at Oklahoma City on Nov. 26 and 30 to San Antonio on Saturday while also losing at the buzzer to New York among a few narrow defeats. ''What the team has got to understand is it's a four-quarter game and it's two-and-a-half event," Dunlap said. "While frustrating, the education continues for us." After Charlotte committed a season-worst 18 turnovers, owner Michael Jordan joined Tuesday's practice to try and give pointers to his young squad. He played one-on-one with Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson and worked on post moves with center Bismack Biyombo. "He cares a lot," Henderson told the team's official website. "It's an important thing for him. Us as players, we care a lot, but to see somebody from management come down, be around and have a voice is a special thing." Griffin scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds while Paul finished with 18 points and 14 assists in Los Angeles' 111-86 road victory in the most recent matchup Feb. 11.
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