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4-20

Clippers-Wizards Preview

AP - Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have put together a talented roster that's currently sitting atop the Pacific Division.

That roster is about to get a little deeper.

One day after acquiring veteran forward Kenyon Martin, the Clippers open a six-game road stretch looking for a sixth consecutive victory over the lowly Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Though Los Angeles (13-7) had its season-high four-game winning streak snapped with a 112-91 loss to Denver on Thursday, the Clippers remain confident heading into their six-game, 10-day trip while Staples Center plays host to the Grammy awards.

"Win them all,'' star Blake Griffin said. "That's our goal and it's possible.''

Sweeping the trip might be a tall order with stops at Orlando, Philadelphia and Dallas on the slate, but the Clippers should get a boost with addition of Martin.

Averaging 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds during his career, the 34-year-old Martin signed a one-year deal with Los Angeles on Friday to return to the NBA after a brief stint playing in China. Though it's uncertain when the 11-year veteran will make his Clippers debut, Martin is expected to provide front-court depth behind Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Martin's presence should further solidify an already solid Clippers team that has flourished with the additions of veteran guards Chris Paul (18.9 points, 9.1 assists per game) and Chauncey Billups (14.9 ppg, 4.1 apg).

"Everyone's getting a little bit more comfortable, getting a little bit better rhythm," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "The more the guys are together, they build trust with each other."

"We're all focused and smart enough to know we're definitely not even close to being a finished product. We have a lot of room for improvement.''

The Clippers will need to improve after they allowed Denver to shoot 53.4 percent and outscore them 32-16 in the third quarter. Griffin had 18 points as Los Angeles went 8 of 27 from 3-point range.

A visit to Washington (4-19) might provide the ideal setting for the Clippers to bounce back.

Los Angeles has averaged 112.2 points on 49.1 percent shooting during a five-game winning streak against Washington. The Clippers totaled 249 points in two victories over the Wizards in 2010-11.

Griffin combined for 59 points on 22-of-36 shooting in those two contests. He had 33, 17 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double during a 127-119 double-overtime home victory over the Wizards on March 23.

Washington will try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat after falling 106-89 at Toronto on Friday. The Wizards have allowed 103.0 points per contest while losing four of five.

"We've got another game (Saturday) so we've definitely got to make up for it," forward JaVale McGee said of the Wizards, who shot 37.9 percent Friday.

Swingman Nick Young, who had 21 points versus Toronto, has averaged 20.8 in the last four games.

Teammate John Wall totaled 57 points and 18 assists in two games against the Clippers last season.

Washington's Rashard Lewis had eight points against the Raptors, leaving him six shy of 15,000 for his career. Lewis is about to join Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd as the only players to score at least 15,000 points, grab 5,000 rebounds and make 1,500 3-pointers.

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