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Hawks-Clippers Preview

AP - Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers are struggling, and Chris Paul isn't happy.

The Atlanta Hawks probably share that sentiment.

Paul will try to help the Clippers avoid their longest home losing streak in nearly two years Wednesday night when they also hope to end another Staples Center skid against the Hawks.

Los Angeles (23-17) has dropped eight of 12, relinquishing the lead in the Pacific Division and falling two games behind its co-tenant - the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Clippers lost their third straight at Staples Center with a 94-85 defeat to Boston on Monday. They haven't endured a four-game skid there since March 21-April 7, 2010, and Paul would like to keep it that way.

"I can't stand to lose. It's not acceptable," Paul said Monday. "We talked about it after the game, that everybody has got to do their part. We're going to watch film and figure it out. There ain't no moral victories around here. I've been in this league too long. You've got to win, or you lose. And you've got to play the right way."

Paul may heed his own advice after making just 3 of 12 shots from the floor - 1 of 5 from beyond the arc - and needing to hit all seven free throws to finish with 14 points and just five assists against the Celtics. The star point guard had been averaging 25.4 points and 8.2 assists over the previous five games.

A meeting with the Hawks (24-18) could get him back on track. Paul has averaged 22.0 points and 10.5 assists in eight career matchups, but those all came with New Orleans.

Blake Griffin didn't speak to reporters after Monday's loss, but he's doing his part for the Clippers. The All-Star forward is averaging 27.0 points during their three-game skid at home, an increase from his team-leading 21.5 on the season.

Griffin put up 31 points and pulled down 15 boards in his only home meeting with Atlanta, a 107-98 loss Jan. 2, 2011.

Los Angeles has lost four straight against the Hawks overall and three in a row as host since a 95-88 win Jan. 30, 2008.

Similar to the Clippers, Atlanta is trying to pull out of a recent funk. The Hawks have dropped three of four during a six-game trip that concludes Wednesday, including a 118-117 overtime loss at Denver on Tuesday. They had a chance to win the game at the end of the extra session, but Zaza Pachulia's driving layup missed off the glass.

"There wasn't anything wrong with our execution. We ran it just like it was designed," coach Larry Drew said. "It was the best executed play we ran all night."

Josh Smith continues to be one of the keys for the Hawks, averaging career highs of 17.8 points and 9.7 rebounds after getting 33 and 13, respectively, against the Nuggets.

The forward also appears to be staying with Atlanta despite rumors that he wanted to be dealt before the league's trade deadline on Thursday. Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson said the chances of Atlanta dealing Smith are "as close to zero as you can get."

"The talk was talk. Nothing but rumors. All rumors," Smith said. "Unless you heard it coming from my mouth, you knew it was a rumor. I was always going to be a part of this program."

Smith is averaging 22.3 points and 9.3 boards over his last four road meetings with the Clippers.

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