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22-12

Bobcats-Clippers Preview

AP - Sports

Looking to bounce back from their most lopsided loss of the season, the Los Angeles Clippers should have a good chance to get back on track at home after their winning streak there was snapped.

The first-place Clippers seek their sixth straight victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, who will try to avoid a 17th consecutive road loss to a Western Conference opponent Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (21-12) saw its five-game run at Staples Center end as Phoenix closed to within a half-game of the Pacific Division leaders with a 107-88 victory Monday.

The Clippers committed 20 turnovers and shot a season-worst 36.5 percent, losing for the third time in four games overall. They had averaged 110.6 points and 46.4 percent shooting in their previous five home games.

''On a night like this when our offense isn't going, we have to be able to rely on our defense," guard Chris Paul said. "We couldn't."

After allowing the Suns to shoot 48.2 percent with 12 3-pointers, Los Angeles may be able to tighten things up against a Charlotte team that ranks near the bottom of the league with 92.5 points per game, a 42.1 field-goal percentage and a 32.5 mark from 3-point range.

Paul and Blake Griffin hope to regroup after combining for 26 points and shooting 10 of 29. Griffin had totaled 75 and shot 59.6 from the field in the previous two contests, while Paul scored 55 and made 53.3 percent.

Though Paul was held to seven points and 3-of-7 shooting in a 106-84 win over visiting Charlotte on Feb. 26, Griffin made 11 of 14 shots en route to a team-high 24 points.

While the Bobcats (14-18) have improved this season, they're looking to avoid a season-worst fourth straight loss after dropping their first two on a season-high five-game trip.

Charlotte's last six losses have come by an average of 3.3 points, but it's lost 16 consecutive road games to West foes by a 19.2 margin dating to last season.

The Bobcats fell to 0-4 in such matchups this season after Utah's Trey Burke made a go-ahead layup over Kemba Walker with 19 seconds left in Monday's 83-80 loss. Charlotte's Gerald Henderson finished with 19 points.

''It's a make-or-miss league and they made it and we missed," said coach Steve Clifford after his club's fourth loss in five games. "That's happened to us the last three nights. We've gotten good shots by the right people and if we're going to win, they're going to have to go in the basket."

They didn't for Walker and Jefferson, who shot a combined 14 for 40 from the field (35.0 percent) as the Bobcats made 36.9 percent overall.

Though he was 8 for 23 on Monday, Jefferson has played well with 22.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in his last four on the road.

Walker, averaging a team-high 18.6 points, has shot just 29.6 percent in his last three games despite going 6 for 11 from 3-point range. He had 15 points while making 5 of 15 from the field but Henderson scored 24 in the February loss at Los Angeles.

For the first time in franchise history, the Clippers are heading into New Year's Day without a losing streak of more than two games in a full season.

They've won six of eight meetings in Los Angeles.

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