The second-best November in team history hasn’t translated into a very successful December for the struggling Los Angeles Clippers.
They’ll try to finish up the month on a high note when they meet the Utah Jazz in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Los Angeles has lost seven of eight and is 3-8 overall this month after going 9-6 during November. The Clippers have dropped their last two, including an ugly 96-76 setback to Memphis on Monday.
Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 14 points, but shot just 3-of-15 from the field. Elton Brand managed just 11 points and three rebounds as Los Angeles was held below 80 points for the second straight game.
“We just really need to come together as a team, without the coaches, and decide what we want to do,” Maggette said. “Are we going to (give up) or are we going to try? It’s not one single thing. There’s a lot of things we need to work on.
“When you are winning, you don’t see it. But when you’re losing, you see a lot of stuff.”
The Clippers will host San Antonio on New Year’s Eve before opening 2005 against Philadelphia on Sunday.
Clippers guard Marko Jaric didn’t dress Monday because of a sprained right foot. His status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain.
Utah has lost two straight and five of six to fall six games below .500 following a promising 6-1 start to the season.
The Jazz shot just 6-of-23 in the fourth quarter during Monday’s 98-88 loss to Seattle on Monday. It marked the 11th straight game Utah shot below 50 percent.
Keith McLeod, Utah’s starting point guard during its fast start, returned from the injured list Monday and had 11 points and six assists in the defeat. Matt Harpring scored 22 points and Carlos Boozer had 16 for the Jazz. Boozer also grabbed 14 rebounds, but committed eight turnovers.
“We just didn’t take care of the ball—those are mental errors and they cost you ballgames,” Utah guard Raja Bell said.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 27): Jazz - 5th place, 10 1/2 GB, Northwest Division. Clippers - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Jazz - Boozer, 19.9 ppg and 9.7 rpg; Carlos Arroyo, 5.9 apg. Clippers - Maggette, 21.4 ppg; Brand, 8.5 rpg; Jaric, 6.4 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Jazz, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 14; Jazz, 93-91. At Salt Lake City, Harpring scored 16 points and Gordan Giricek added 12 for Utah.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Jazz - 5-10 on the road; Clippers - 8-7 at home.