The Clippers look to win three straight for the first time in nearly two months and continue their dominance over the Knicks when the teams meet at Staples Center on Sunday.
Hoping to build some momentum heading into the new year, the Clippers (13-16) should be happy to see the Knicks (13-19). Los Angeles has won three straight and seven of the last 10 meetings with New York. The Clippers have won seven in a row at home against the Knicks since a 77-76 loss on March 25, 1998.
Though they’re a last-place team, the Clippers had reason to smile Friday after they ended a 14-game losing streak to Sacramento with a 102-93 victory.
“As well as we played last season, we still lost to that team four times,” Los Angeles’ Elton Brand said. “Everyone is comparing us to last season, but this is something that we didn’t do last season.”
Brand scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and Corey Maggette shook off persistent trade rumors to add 21. The Clippers have won three of four since dropping six straight.
Maggette, who came in averaging 14.8 points—his lowest since 2001-02— added seven rebounds and made all seven of his free throws.
There have been reports that Sacramento may deal Ron Artest to the Clippers for Maggette, who is unhappy about his playing time and has asked his agent to pursue a trade.
“Just because something is on TV or in the rumor mill, it’s not anything until it happens,” Brand said. “I’ve been talking to the guys about being professional like they are, especially Corey Maggette, just coming out and playing his game and not worried about that stuff because he can’t change it.”
While their home record is a solid 11-6, the Clippers know they can’t expect to make the playoffs unless they improve their road play. They have lost 10 of 12 away from Staples Center and will get a chance put together some road wins when they open a six-game, 10-day trip Tuesday at Orlando.
“We’re definitely capable of having a good trip, we’re definitely capable of playing teams tough and winning,” Brand said. “It’s not like we haven’t shown we can go out and win on the road.
The Knicks kicked off a season-high five-game road trip Friday with a 108-86 loss at Phoenix.
“When you get down so much in the first quarter, it’s tough to catch up,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said.
It was the fourth straight road loss for the Knicks, who have been outscored by an average of 16.7 points during the skid.
New York also visits Sacramento, Portland and Seattle on this trip.