76ers-Clippers Preview

The Associated Press

Chris Paul has decisively outplayed Jrue Holiday the four times they have squared off against each other as starters.

Paul hopes that trend continues Wednesday night when his Los Angeles Clippers try to extend the Philadelphia 76ers' road skid to 14 games.

The matchup of these All-Star point guards figures to be the focal point of this contest. Paul is averaging 21.3 points on 57.4 percent shooting and Holiday just 10.5 points on 33.3 percent shooting when they've met as starters.

That includes the Clippers' 107-90 road victory Feb. 11. Paul had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go with 11 assists and five steals. Holiday scored 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting and added nine assists.

Paul is second in the NBA with 9.7 assists per game while Holiday - a southern California native - is fourth at 8.7.

Philadelphia (26-40) is enduring its longest road slide since a franchise-worst 20 straight such defeats in 1987-88. The 76ers' last road win came in their last visit to Staples Center, a 103-99 victory over the Lakers on Jan. 1.

This is the start of a four-game trip comprised of two back-to-back sets.

"Now we gotta go out on the road, it's a very tough trip for us, not so much in the number of games but how they are played," coach Doug Collins said. "You got the Clippers and then you got Denver in a back-to-back. Then you got two days off and then you got (Sacramento) and you got Utah in a back-to-back."

Los Angeles (46-22) continued its troubling pattern of alternating wins and losses with Tuesday's 116-101 defeat at Sacramento. The Clippers led by five entering the fourth quarter before giving up 38 points - the most they have allowed in any period all season.

"We're not playing well enough right now, we're not guarding hard enough right now, we're not physically and mentally tough enough, especially when we have to be in the fourth quarter," coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 26 points while Jamal Crawford scored 25. Paul missed 8 of 10 shots from the field, although he handed out 15 assists.

Starting guard Chauncey Billups left the game after seven minutes due to a groin injury.

The Clippers lead Golden State by 7 1/2 games in the Pacific as they bid for the franchise's first division title. However, they have fallen behind Memphis and Denver in the race for home-court advantage in the first round.

"No one is going to feel sorry for you, you've got another game tomorrow night," Del Negro said. "We've got to bounce back at home in front of our fans."

Holiday is coming off back-to-back 27-point efforts for the Sixers, who won 101-100 over Portland on Monday to complete a 3-1 homestand that included victories over Brooklyn and Indiana.

"I'm proud of our guys, it was a very, very nice week for them," Collins said. "I think you can see the fight and the competitive spirit - this team wants to win."

Spencer Hawes recorded his fourth double-double in six games with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Thaddeus Young, who missed the first meeting with Los Angeles with a hamstring injury, scored 19.

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