One of the struggling teams will come away with a rare win when they face off at Phillips Arena on Saturday.
The Clippers (15-18) are just 3-12 on the road this season following Friday’s 116-105 loss at the Washington Wizards. The three road wins are tied with the Charlotte Bobcats for the second-fewest in the NBA, leading only the Memphis Grizzlies’ two road victories.
Los Angeles is averaging just 92.7 points per game away from home, and losing by an average margin of 14.2 points. Point guard Shaun Livingston said the team’s problems on the road are mostly mental.
“Lack of concentration and focus. We’re not mentally tough. We crack too easy. We give leads up too easy,” said Livingston, whose 5.4 assists per game lead the Clippers. “That’s not a sign of a good team.”
Los Angeles is 1-2 on its six-game road trip, which includes a game on Monday against the New Orleans Hornets before concluding Wednesday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. Elton Brand had 29 points and 12 rebounds Friday at Washington, while Livingston added 19 points, five rebounds and eight assists.
Brand has fared well in his career at Atlanta, averaging 22.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in eight career games there.
The Clippers appear to have one of their best chances at victory during this trip when they face the Hawks (9-21). Los Angeles has won six straight meetings between the teams, and Atlanta enters this contest in the midst of the NBA’s longest active losing streak.
The Hawks dropped their eighth straight game on Friday, 105-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Marvin Williams scored 24 points, but the team continues to struggle without Josh Smith, who is sidelined following hernia surgery. He has missed the team’s last five games and without his defensive presence, Atlanta was outscored 44-28 in the pain.
It’s the team’s longest losing streak since beginning last season by losing the first nine games.
“We have a lot of guys injured, but that’s not to make an excuse,” point guard Speedy Claxton said. “We just got to get some guys healthy and start believing we can win again, and start playing defense.”
Atlanta has one of the NBA’s worst offenses, averaging a meager 93.1 points per game on 43.4 percent shooting.