The Los Angeles Clippers have lost nine straight road games. Paying a visit to the worst team in the Western Conference might be a good way to end that streak.
Los Angeles will look to win on the road for the first time since March 8 when it meets the Denver Nuggets in the fourth game of a five-game road trip.
Elton Brand thought the Clippers could have ended the skid on Thursday. After keeping pace with the Timberwolves throughout the first half, they watched as Minnesota ended the third quarter with a 13-2 run on its way to a 106-90 win.
“We definitely thought it was our turn,” said Brand, who had 20 points, “but you have to give them credit, because they fought hard. They really wanted that victory.”
Clippers coach Dennis Johnson said they missed forward Lamar Odom, who was a late scratch with a sore left ankle. His absence forced Los Angeles into its 23rd different starting lineup this season.
“We missed his play out on the floor,” Johnson said. “But we’ve been facing that all year.”
Denver, which will miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season, has clinched the worst record in the Western Conference and the franchise’s worst season since 1997-98.
STANDINGS: Clippers - 7th place, 33 GB, Pacific Division. Nuggets - 7th place, 42 GB, Midwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Clippers - Brand, 18.5 ppg and 11.2 rpg; Miller, 6.7 apg. Nuggets - Howard, 18.6 ppg and 7.7 rpg; Harrington, 3.4 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Clippers, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: March 19; Clippers, 91-78. At Los Angeles, Wang ZhiZhi scored a career-high 21 points, and rookie Marko Jaric had nine of his 13 during a 3:45 span of the fourth quarter as Los Angeles won for just the sixth time in 27 games. Howard led the Nuggets with 24 points.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Clippers - 9-30 on the road; Nuggets - 13-26 at home.
INJURIES: Clippers - F Odom (ankle); F Cherokee Parks (back); F Tremaine Fowlkes (shoulder); C Michael Olowokandi (knee). Nuggets - F Ryan Bowen (abdomen); G Adam Harrington (knee).