With their No. 1 draft pick sidelined for the season, their second-leading scorer nursing a leg injury and their general manager recently shown the door, it’s no surprise the Los Angeles Clippers are mired in a six-game losing streak.
What would be stunning is if they can snap it Saturday night.
The Clippers’ 15-game skid against the San Antonio Spurs is the league’s longest current drought against a single opponent, and they’ll also be looking for their first-ever win in 15 visits to the AT&T Center.
The last time Los Angeles (25-41) played San Antonio was in Kim Hughes’ interim coaching debut Feb. 6 at Staples Center. Hughes was taking over for Mike Dunleavy, who stepped down as the team’s on-court leader two days earlier after 6 1/2 seasons on the sidelines.
Hughes didn’t have any better luck than Dunleavy against the Spurs in the 103-87 loss. San Antonio (38-25) has won three meetings this season by an average of 19.3 points, the past 15 overall in the series by 15.5 points per game and all 14 games versus the Clippers at the AT&T Center by an average of 13.4 points since the facility opened in 2002.
There haven’t been many positive signs in the past month. Los Angeles has dropped 13 of 17 under Hughes, and on Tuesday the organization relieved Dunleavy - still serving as general manager - of his remaining duties.
Added to the front office uncertainty is a six-game losing streak that’s tied for the team’s longest of the season.
The absence of Eric Gordon(notes), who at 17.2 points per game is the team’s second-leading scorer behind Kaman, hasn’t helped. Gordon has missed the first four games of this road trip with a sore leg and is likely out for Saturday’s finale as well.
The Clippers had their best shooting performance since Hughes took over Friday in Charlotte, but it wasn’t enough. Baron Davis(notes) scored 24 points and Los Angeles shot 57.5 percent, but 23 turnovers were costly in a 106-98 loss.
“We don’t share the ball enough,” Hughes said. “I think when they double-teamed us, we held the ball too long. We have to be more unselfish when we get trapped.”
Manu Ginobili(notes) followed his 38-point performance in a Monday loss to the Cavaliers by scoring 28 in a 97-87 win Wednesday against the New York Knicks, then fellow guard George Hill(notes) had 19 points and eight assists Friday in a 103-85 rout at Minnesota.
San Antonio has won six of seven.
The Spurs’ new starting backcourt has kept Duncan from having to carry the offensive load, as he’s averaged just 15.0 points and 6.8 rebounds over his past five games.
It’s possible coach Gregg Popovich could rest Duncan Saturday in the second night of a back-to-back, but he only played 25 minutes Friday and has averaged just over 20 in the last four meetings with Los Angeles.
San Antonio is 4-4 when playing the second of a back-to-back, while the Clippers - also playing their fourth game in five nights - are 4-13.