Clippers-76ers Preview

The Associated Press

With Chris Paul returning to form in his last game, the Los Angeles Clippers look to end their Grammys road trip on a positive note.

It may not be easy, however, against a Philadelphia 76ers team that has gotten back on track during its eight-game homestand.

The Clippers will try to wrap up their season-long eight-game trip with back-to-back wins on Monday night when they visit the resurgent 76ers.

After losing three of its first four on the annual swing, Los Angeles (36-17) has won two of three - including a 102-88 victory at New York on Sunday.

Jamal Crawford came off the bench to lead the way with 27 points on 12-of-22 shooting, while Blake Griffin contributed 17 and 12 rebounds for the Clippers.

In his second game back after missing 12 of the previous 14 because of a bruised right kneecap, Chris Paul added 25 and seven assists in 29 minutes against the Knicks.

"Jamal, Chris, Blake, I mean everybody, it was a team effort. Everybody stepped up at some point,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Paul had a season-low three points on 1-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes in a 111-89 loss at Miami on Friday in his return after missing the previous nine.

His return doesn't bode well for the 76ers. Paul has averaged 24.5 points on 18-of-32 shooting in his last two trips to Philadelphia, including the game-winning jumper with 3.2 seconds left in a 78-77 win there last February.

The 76ers (22-27), though, have been tough on the defensive end while winning five of seven on their homestand, which concludes against the Clippers.

Philadelphia, who had dropped 10 of 13 prior to the homestand, has closed within three games of Milwaukee for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

The 76ers held Charlotte to 30.7 percent shooting and 2-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc in an 87-76 victory on Saturday.

Philadelphia has limited their opponents to 76.3 points per game and a 35.3 field goal percentage - including 9 for 55 (16.4 percent) shooting from 3-point range - in its last four games.

The defensive effort has helped Philadelphia overcome its recent struggles offensively with starters Jason Richardson (knee) and Thaddeus Young (hamstring) out due to injuries.

Leading scorer Jrue Holiday and forward Lavoy Allen were bright spots on Saturday. Holiday had 20 points and seven assists on Saturday, while Allen stepped up with 14 points and a career-high 22 rebounds.

"I was a monster on the boards at Temple,'' Allen said. "It really was my game. All-time leading rebounder at Temple, by the way. Just want to throw that out there.''

Nick Young has averaged 14.3 points in seven starts since taking over for Richardson, but has totaled 14 on 6-of-21 shooting in his last two.

The 76ers have scored 78.0 points per game while shooting 7 for 44 from 3-point range in their last three.

They'll try to get something going against the Clippers, who have held opponents to 27.3 shooting from beyond the arc in their last four wins. Teams, though, have hit 54.2 percent from long range in Los Angeles' last four losses.

While the 76ers have won six of nine in the series, the Clippers have taken two of three in Philadelphia.

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