Clippers-Bucks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 15, 2012
The Los Angeles Clippers are on the verge of their longest winning streak since setting a team record 38 years ago. Still, Chris Paul claims they're not satisfied. Paul and the Pacific Division-leading Clippers go for their ninth straight win Saturday night when they visit the surging Milwaukee Bucks. Los Angeles (16-6) is averaging 105.9 points during its eight-game run, the team's longest since the 1991-92 season. A victory at Milwaukee (12-9) would give the Clippers their longest streak since setting a franchise record with 11 consecutive wins from Nov. 3-23, 1974, when they were the Buffalo Braves. "It's cool," Paul said. "It just means we're playing all right now. But we're not satisfied. We have to keep playing the right way and keep this thing going. Sometimes you're going to win and play bad and sometimes you're going to play well and lose. For us it's all about being consistent." Paul helped keep Los Angeles rolling Wednesday, matching Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes' 19 points while adding 10 assists and five rebounds in a 100-94 victory at Charlotte. "I think it's a good sign for us that we're finding ways to win," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Everyone is contributing, locking really hard when we need to and making sure we're consistent on some things. We just got to get a little sharper." Del Negro may be concerned with the Clippers' 45.1 percent shooting from the floor over the past three games after they hit 50.8 percent in the previous four. But his team has continued to win despite Jamal Crawford's struggles. The reserve guard - second on the team with 17.1 points per game - is averaging 11.7 on 30.3 percent (10 for 33) from the field in the past three contests. He made just 2 of 12 shots to finish with a season-low nine points Wednesday, but his eight assists were his most this season. "He had eight assists and a lot of teams are gearing up on him to try and slow him down," Del Negro told the team's official website. "So, he's good off the dribble and he only had one turnover; 8-to-1 we'll take that every time. "If they're going to load up on him we've got to make them pay." Griffin is doing his part with a 20.6 scoring average and 8.9 boards during the winning streak. The star forward is totaling 24.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in three meetings with the Bucks, including 22 and 14, respectively, in a 92-86 win Jan. 7 - the only matchup last season. Milwaukee is also playing very well, beating Cleveland 90-86 on Friday for its season-high fourth straight win. Monta Ellis scored a season-high 33 points and is averaging 24.7 on 50.0 percent shooting, 6.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds in his last three games. Ellis averaged 22.7 points and 7.7 assists in three meetings against the Clippers with Golden State last season. Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings scored 20 points in a 102-78 win in the most recent meeting at the Bradley Center on Feb. 14, 2011. It's unclear if Milwaukee will have Beno Udrih (sprained right ankle), Tobias Harris (lacerated right elbow) or Mike Dunleavy (bruised left knee) back after all three sat out Friday's win.
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