Clippers-Hornets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 27, 2013
The last time the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Hornets on the road, they weren't even located in New Orleans. The suddenly surging Hornets would like to keep it that way. After opening a four-game trip with another road defeat, the Clippers look to avoid a 10th straight road loss to the Hornets on Wednesday night. Los Angeles (48-23) hasn't managed to beat the Hornets (25-46) on the road since Jan. 8, 2007, when they were temporarily playing in Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina. The Clippers have dropped 11 of 12 as the visitor in this series since their last win in New Orleans on April 20, 2005. Los Angeles hasn't visited the Hornets since last March 22, when Chris Paul returned to New Orleans for the first time after spending his first six seasons as the Hornets' star point guard. He had 16 points and nine assists in a 97-90 loss. Paul is averaging 22.0 points and 10.8 assists while helping the Clippers win three of four meetings since, but they've all been in Los Angeles. He had 10 points and 12 assists and was one of four starters that rested in the fourth quarter on Dec. 19, when the Clippers cruised to a 93-77 victory. Duplicating that performance could be difficult considering Los Angeles has dropped three straight on the road, surrendering an average of 110.7 points and 51.7 percent shooting - 41.9 from beyond the arc. Paul certainly did his part to try to end that slide Tuesday in Dallas, scoring 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, but the Clippers fell 109-102 in overtime. Production from Blake Griffin would surely help. The All-Star forward is averaging 10.7 points while shooting 31.3 percent over the past three games. He's totaled 22 points while the Clippers have split two season meetings with the Hornets, including a career-low four points on 1 of 9 from the floor in a 105-98 defeat Nov. 26. Unlike the Clippers, New Orleans enters this meeting with some momentum, winning three in a row for the first time since a season-high four-game run from Jan. 5-11. While Los Angeles' defense has been virtually nonexistent during its road skid, the Hornets have stepped it up defensively during their winning streak, allowing an average of 85.0 points - 12.4 less than their season average. The Hornets' latest performance may be their most impressive of the season, beating Denver 110-86 on Monday. They held the Nuggets to 37.9 percent from the field to end their franchise record-tying 15-game winning streak. "We always talk about competing every single night, because you never know, to give yourself a chance," coach Monty Williams said. "I'm proud of the way we try to do things, and I'm also happy being a part of good stuff. That's who we are - we play hard, we defend - when the ball goes in, it's all the better." Rookie Brian Roberts is looking to build on his stunning effort from Monday, when he had a career-high 18 assists with 13 points in just his second career start. He fell three assists shy of matching Paul's team record set in November 2007. "I've had to grind and just fight to be on the team just to make an opportunity for myself," Roberts said. "It's something I know I don't take for granted." Ryan Anderson had 23 points and nine rebounds against Denver, but averages 8.9 points in seven career games against the Clippers. He had seven on Dec. 19, while going 2 for 13 from the floor - missing all eight attempts from long range.
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