The Clippers hope to avoid matching a season-high, five-game losing streak Wednesday when they face the undermanned Toronto Raptors at Staples Center.
Los Angeles (10-13) entered this season with high expectations, after reaching the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons in 2005-06.
Injuries and decreased production from several key players, though, have contributed to the Clippers’ last-place position in the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles was one of several rumored destinations for Iverson, and those rumors only intensified Sunday with the Clippers losing 108-103 to Houston.
Point guard Shaun Livingston set career highs with 21 points and nine rebounds to go with six assists, but shouldered his share of the blame for the team’s slump.
“We’re not winning right now, we’re just not getting it done as a team, but I really feel that’s on me,” he said. “I mean, it’s not all on me, but I’m the point guard. When you talk about teams winning and losing, you usually look at the coach and the point guard.”
Tim Thomas made his third straight start at small forward Sunday for the Clippers, but left 38 seconds into the game with a bruised left knee. He returned later in the first quarter, but bruised his left elbow in a collision with Dikembe Mutombo and was knocked on his back by referee Phil Robinson while clutching his painful elbow. X-rays were negative.
Veteran guard Sam Cassell was scratched for the second time in three games because of a sore left heel. Another guard, Quinton Ross, left the game with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter because of back spasms.
“It’s a double disappointment because we’re losing games and losing players. But we’ve just got to keep fighting and plugging away,” All-Star forward Elton Brand said.
Thomas, Cassell and Ross are all questionable for Wednesday.
Although Brand’s numbers are far from disappointing, he is averaging nearly six points fewer per game than last season’s career high of 24.7.
The decreased production could be attributed partially to the lack of dependable outside shooting to complement Brand. The Clippers are last in the NBA in 3-point percentage (29.4).
Toronto (10-15) opened its four-game road trip Tuesday with a 115-98 loss to red-hot Phoenix, ending its season-best three-game win streak.
T.J. Ford led the injury-plagued Raptors with 19 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a bruised lower back.
If Ford is unable to play Wednesday, Toronto would be without its top two scorers. Leading scorer and rebounder Chris Bosh has missed six straight games with a left knee injury and isn’t expected to play on this trip.
Rookie forward Jorge Garbajosa also left early Tuesday, departing in the first half with a right calf strain.
Backup point guard Jose Calderon suffered a lower torso injury Sunday against Golden State and isn’t expected to play Wednesday.
The Raptors did get shooting guard Fred Jones back after he missed one game with a left calf contusion.
The Clippers have won four of the last five meetings with the Raptors.