One month ago, the Los Angeles Clippers were off to an impressive start and leading the Pacific Division. That’s not the case anymore.
Los Angeles looks to avoid tying its season-high losing streak at three games when it hosts the Orlando Magic.
The Clippers beat Phoenix 101-91 on Dec. 10 to improve to 14-5 on the season, but have since dropped nine of their last 12 to drop four games behind the Suns in the Pacific.
Los Angeles opened its season-high seven-game homestand with its third straight loss at Staples Center, 112-109 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
The Clippers shot 51 percent from the field and a season-best 60 percent from 3-point range, but couldn’t overcome Kobe Bryant’s 50 points.
“We needed to trap a little more and get the ball out of his hands,” said Clippers forward Elton Brand, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds. “That’s what we did in the fourth quarter and the end, and that’s when we caught up.”
Cuttino Mobley almost tied it at the end for the Clippers, but he couldn’t get off his 3-pointer before time expired. The shot went in for Mobley, who scored a season-high 36 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line.
The veteran shooting guard averaged 16.0 points in 23 games with Orlando last season before being traded to Sacramento. He signed a five-year, $42 million deal with the Clippers last summer.
Hill is listed as day-to-day after being placed on the inactive list before Saturday’s contest with a strained groin, the same injury that forced him to have sports hernia surgery in October and miss the first 19 games of the season.
The seven-time All-Star, who has been sidelined for two of the last three games, missed the majority of the last four seasons due to ankle injuries.
“I want to say that I feel great, I really do, but honestly, I don’t know when I’ll be ready to play,” said Hill, who will travel with Orlando on its four-game West Coast trip. “I hope I’ll feel good enough to go (Tuesday), but we’ll have to wait and see how it feels then.”
Orlando shot a season-high 56 percent from the field (40-for-71) against the Bobcats with all five starters scoring in double figures. The Magic outrebounded Charlotte 47-33, but had 20 or more turnovers for the second straight game.
The Clippers have won four of the last five meetings with the Magic in Los Angeles.