The Los Angeles Clippers were hoping to build some momentum on their six-game road trip to start the new year, but it hasn’t come close to happening.
They’ll try to bounce back from one of their worst performances of the season when they meet the New Orleans Hornets in Oklahoma City on Monday.
Los Angeles is 1-3 on the road trip, with the only victory coming Wednesday against a short-handed Miami team. The Clippers (15-19) managed their lowest point total of the season in an 86-74 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.
“Offensively tonight we just struggled,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “At times we had good looks, but we just couldn’t make them. I thought they were pretty physical with us around the basket. We didn’t do a good enough job finishing like we normally do.”
The Clippers seemed ashamed to lose to the lowly Hawks. Forward Elton Brand compared the loss to the team’s six-game losing streak from Dec. 11-22.
“This is pretty bad right now,” Brand said. “I think we lost six in a row. I think I’ve felt a little worse than this. But it’s pretty close to rock bottom. Definitely.”
Brand has been consistent on the trip, averaging 24.5 points, but he hasn’t received much help.
Shooting guard Cuttino Mobley, who missed the Miami game with a left elbow injury, has been a complete non-factor in the three losses, averaging 7.0 points on 5-of-23 shooting.
Compounding the Clippers’ problems are injuries to Sam Cassell and second-leading scorer Corey Maggette. Cassell is out indefinitely with a left heel injury, while Maggette sat out Saturday with a sore left foot.
On Saturday, the Hornets fell for the 11th time in 13 games, 100-93 to Indiana. Desmond Mason scored a season-high 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting but the rest of the team shot just 38.6 percent from the field.
“I had no complaint on our effort,” New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. “I thought that we played hard. There were little things that we didn’t do that we have talked about all year long. … We do not have the manpower to make those kinds of mistakes.”
“Devin has that experience. The one thing about Devin that I know is that he’s not going to turn the ball over. He’s going to take good shots,” Scott said.
Brown had 11 points, five assists and one turnover.
Los Angeles won 92-76 in the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 12. Brand had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead six Clippers scoring in double figures.