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Clippers-Thunder Preview

AP - Sports

Once flying high, the Los Angeles Clippers are struggling to score.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are dealing with some inconsistency of their own.

The Clippers will visit their second playoff contender in as many nights when they continue a back-to-back-to-back stretch against the Western Conference-leading Thunder on Wednesday.

Los Angeles (26-19) has gone a season-high seven straight games without reaching 100 points, dropping four of those contests while falling 1 1/2 games behind the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead.

After consecutive victories over Houston and Detroit - each by four points, including one in overtime - the Clippers fell 102-89 at Indiana on Tuesday to open a trip of three games in as many nights.

They shot 43.5 percent from the field overall, 6 of 22 from 3-point range, and 9 of 20 at the free-throw line.

"We just stopped making shots,'' said Blake Griffin, who finished with a team-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds. "A lot of shots that we normally hit did not go down, and that's going to happen. That's why we need to rely on our defense, and it hasn't really been there. That's what's going to happen until we get it figured out.''

Chris Paul added 16 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who managed to take two of three during another back-to-back-to-back in January, though all three of those games took place at Staples Center - including a road loss to the Lakers.

All three contests are in different cities this time, concluding with a visit to New Orleans on Thursday.

"It's more mental than it is physical," Griffin said of the scheduling challenge.

Griffin and the Clippers may be facing the Thunder (34-12) at a good time. While Oklahoma City still leads the West, it has lost four of seven and is coming off a 97-90 defeat at Utah on Tuesday.

Griffin, who starred at the University of Oklahoma, is averaging 25.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in five career games versus the Thunder, including 31.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in two contests in Oklahoma City.

He had 22 points in the Clippers' 112-100 victory over the Thunder on Jan. 30 at Staples Center, as Los Angeles overcame 36 points from Kevin Durant and 31 from Russell Westbrook.

Durant and Westbrook are both looking to bounce back after a disappointing night against the Jazz.

Durant shot 6 of 22 for 18 points while Westbrook finished with 23 points, but had just three assists. Durant was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing seven field-goal attempts.

"It was a tough game for us," Durant told the Thunder's official website. "They came out and played really aggressive and they got it going. It was tough to stop. ... We were executing. We were getting good looks. We couldn't make a few."

Oklahoma City, which failed in its bid to win consecutive games for the first time since March 5 and 7, will try to get back on track during a three-game homestand which also includes matchups with Minnesota and Miami.

The Thunder have been just as inconsistent at home recently, losing three of five there after opening 17-1 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

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