Because of a pair of crucial developments in the eight days since that game, the Hornets’ winning streak against the Clippers appears to be in serious jeopardy when the clubs meet in New Orleans on Tuesday night.
The Hornets (3-8) have won 10 straight against Los Angeles and 16 of the last 20 home games in the series dating to 1993, when they were based in Charlotte. The Clippers (4-7) have lost their last three trips to New Orleans Arena by an average of 22.7 points.
The Hornets continued their mastery of the Clippers on Nov. 9. Chris Paul(notes) had 24 points and 10 assists in just 25 minutes, and Devin Brown(notes) scored 25 points as New Orleans won 112-84 at Staples Center.
As convincing as that victory was, a lot has changed for the Hornets over the past week. Paul tweaked his left ankle against the Clippers, then twisted it more severely in a home loss to Portland on Friday. The two-time All-Star point guard is out indefinitely.
The Hornets also have a new coach after the firing of Byron Scott on Thursday. General manager Jeff Bower is 0-2 since taking over.
Those developments appear to give Los Angeles a chance to snap its losing streak in the series. The Clippers might like their chances even more after putting together one of their best all-around games of the season Sunday, beating Oklahoma City 101-93.
Baron Davis(notes) scored 24 points and made a key 3-pointer in the final minute, and Chris Kaman(notes) had 25 points while going 10 for 15 from the field as the Clippers outscored the Thunder 26-17 in the fourth quarter to snap a three-game overall skid.
“Just any win right now is a big win, being 4-7,” said Kaman, who’s averaging a career-best 22.3 points but was held to a season-low 14 against New Orleans last week. “I thought we did a good job tonight in the fourth quarter finishing the game.”
Davis sees plenty of room for improvement as the Clippers continue a three-game road trip that finishes Wednesday in Memphis.
“We still have to find a way to get into a better rhythm offensively,” he said after Los Angeles scored more than 89 points for the first time in four games. “We are too congested sometimes and that is how some teams get back in the game on us. … Hopefully this road trip will be a learning curve for us and we can take what we learn and apply it to the rest of the season.”
The Hornets also have work to do. In their first full game without Paul, they fell 121-98 at Atlanta on Saturday night, their largest margin of defeat during a frustrating start to the season.
“It’s different because our game was based on (Paul) creating for everybody, and now we just have to all step it up, move the ball, just kind of play off each other,” said Peja Stojakovic(notes), who led the team with 25 points against the Hawks after totaling 29 over his previous six contests.
“I think maybe in the long run it will help us to get our team going, but right now we have to deal with things like that. We have to stay in there and fight.”
This will be Rasual Butler’s(notes) first game in New Orleans since the Hornets traded him to the Clippers in the offseason. Butler averaged a career-high 11.2 points while starting 74 games for New Orleans in 2008-09, his fourth season with the club. He scored 14 points against his former team last week.