Clippers-Bobcats Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers' frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has helped carry the load with Chris Paul sidelined.

Big man Al Jefferson hopes to help the Charlotte Bobcats keep overcoming their point guard's absence.

Both teams will likely be looking to control the paint as surging Los Angeles goes for a seventh consecutive win over the Bobcats on Wednesday night.

The Pacific Division-leading Clippers (29-14) improved to 2-1 on a seven-game road trip after beating Detroit 112-103 on Monday. Jamal Crawford had 26 points off the bench, Griffin scored 25 and Jordan added 16 while matching a season best with 21 rebounds.

Though Paul has missed the last eight games due to a separated shoulder, Los Angeles has won six of seven while averaging 111.0 points.

"Nobody tried to do too much," said Crawford, averaging 25.7 points in the last three games. "We all played our roles and tried to help each other out as much as possible. That's the key to win any game in this league."

Griffin has scored 26.8 per game while shooting 56.4 percent over the last six, up from his season marks of 22.5 and 52.3. He's even chipped in 5.2 assists per game in that span with Paul and his league-leading 11.2 average out of action.

Jordan, averaging 9.7 points and an NBA-leading 13.7 boards, has posted 12.0 and 15.3, respectively, during the Clippers' 6-1 run along with 3.9 blocks per game.

"We feel like our front line is great now, but they're only going to get better," Crawford said of Griffin and Jordan. "They both want to be better and they're pushing each other, and they're pushing our team. They're really the anchors defensively and offensively."

Charlotte (18-25) is coming off Monday's 100-95 win over Toronto, its first game since losing Kemba Walker to a sprained ankle. Ramon Sessions scored a season-high 23 points starting in his place, and Jefferson stayed hot with 22 and 19 rebounds.

Jefferson, who became the first Bobcats player to record a double-double in the first quarter with 10 points and 10 boards, also finished with a career best-tying seven assists. The 10-year veteran is averaging 25.5 points and 12.7 rebounds while shooting 55.8 percent over the last six games.

Winners in three of five after a 1-8 slump, the Bobcats survived a scare after their 30-point lead was cut to one with 26 seconds left.

"We stuck together at the end and pulled it out, so it's a big win," Jefferson said. "I think this week coming up we have a chance to get some big wins if we play like we played tonight."

Charlotte hasn't posted back-to-back victories since a season-best three-game run Dec. 17-20 and could have a tough time doing so Wednesday, having lost six straight to the Clippers by an average of 16.7 points.

Los Angeles outscored Charlotte 56-29 in the second half of a 112-85 victory Jan. 1. Griffin compiled 31 points and 12 rebounds while Jefferson had 14 and 12, respectively.

Former Bobcats forward Jared Dudley also came up big with 20 points. The Clippers are 15-1 when he scores in double figures.

While Los Angeles is 18-3 at home, it has gone 11-11 on the road. The Clippers haven't won consecutive road games since Dec. 9 and 11.

"Every team has to play tough on the road," Griffin said. "You can't complain, you just have to go out and play."

The Bobcats are giving up an average of 37.2 points in the paint to rank in the top five in the league.

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