The Clippers and Bucks both look to end lengthy losing streaks and get their seasons back on track when they meet at Staples Center on Tuesday.
Los Angeles (6-9) opened this season with four straight wins, its best start since going a franchise-best 5-0 to start the 1985-86 season. However, the Clippers have since lost nine of 11, and they are currently mired in a five-game skid.
They will match their longest losing streak from all of last season if they fail to win Tuesday.
In Sunday’s 101-95 defeat to Indiana, Los Angeles led 88-84 with 7:08 to play, but did not hit another field goal until Corey Maggette’s 3-pointer with 6 seconds left in the game.
The Clippers’ offensive woes have been a big reason for their skid. They’re shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and averaging 91.2 points in those games while being outscored by an average of 13.4 points. They scored 109.0 points per game during the 4-0 start.
“We just have to do a better job at valuing our possessions and getting good shots,” Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said.
Milwaukee (7-8) averaged 105.0 points, nearly 10 more than its season average, during a five-game winning streak from Nov. 14-24. That streak included a road win over defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland and a home victory over Dallas, which had the league’s best record last season.
Since that win over the Mavericks, however, the Bucks have lost four in a row and they’ve failed to score 100 points in any of those games. This slide has included two double-digit losses at the Bradley Center after Milwaukee had opened 6-0 at home.
The Bucks are being outscored by an average of 15.0 points during the losing streak following a 117-91 home loss to Detroit on Saturday.
“We’re kind of in the middle of a downturn, no doubt,” Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said after his team’s fourth game in five nights. “We’ve gotten away from a lot of the things we’ve been preaching and believing in.”
The Bucks made just nine of their 21 free throws and committed 19 turnovers Saturday. After the game, the players and coaches held a closed door meeting to try and figure out how to keep the season from snowballing out of control.
“You’ve got to keep it real,” Michael Redd said of the discussion. “You’ve got to be honest. It was necessary.”
Redd, who averaged a career-high 26.7 points last season, had a season-low 11 points on Saturday and has been held to 19.8 per game during the losing skid.
Milwaukee is 1-6 on the road this season, and blew a 17-point lead in the second half at New York on Friday in its most recent game away from home.
The Bucks have lost seven straight to the Clippers at Staples Center since winning the first meeting there on March 30, 2000. Los Angeles has won its last two home games against Milwaukee by an average of 21.5 points.
The Clippers have won five in a row overall in this series.
Los Angeles guard Cuttino Mobley averaged 20.5 points against Milwaukee last season - his third most against any opponent in 2006-07. Mobley, though, has been struggling, averaging 8.0 points and shooting 9-for-31 (29.0 percent) from the field over the last three games.
Teammate Chris Kaman had 22 points and matched a season high with 22 rebounds on Sunday for his 11th double-double of the season. He averaged 10.0 points and 9.0 boards against the Bucks last season.
Al Thornton, the 14th pick of this year’s draft, sprained his left ankle and left Sunday’s game with 1:22 to go in the first half. The extent of his injury is not known, but the Clippers cannot afford any more injuries, as they are already without Elton Brand and Sam Cassell.
“It seems like it’s one injury after another for this team,” said Kaman, the only player to start all 15 games for Los Angeles. “We can’t make excuses, because every team in the NBA goes through that. But it has been ridiculous. We have to keep working through them.”