Hornets-Clippers Preview

The Associated Press

Chris Paul wasn't pleased with how the Los Angeles Clippers played during their recent road trip.

Returning home to face his struggling former team may be what Los Angeles needs to break out of its slump.

The Clippers look to end a three-game losing streak while dealing the New Orleans Hornets an eighth straight defeat Monday night.

After knocking off San Antonio for its sixth consecutive win to start its trip, Los Angeles dropped the final three games, including Saturday's 104-93 loss at Atlanta.

Blake Griffin totaled 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while Paul finished with 19 points and seven assists for the Clippers (8-5), who lost three straight just once all of last season.

''It's a terrible road trip for us, especially with all of them being winnable games,'' Paul said. ''I think what we've learned from it is that it's not as easy as it looks."

Los Angeles' vaunted bench also was held in check over the last two games, scoring 24 points in Friday's loss to Brooklyn and 34 on Saturday while shooting a combined 36.5 percent over those contests.

The Clippers' average of 40.0 points from their reserves ranks fourth in the league.

Jamal Crawford, the team's leading scorer and sixth man, scored 12 points Saturday and is shooting 35.8 percent over his last four games. Paul said the Clippers can't always rely on their reserves to pick up the slack.

"That's unusual for us because usually our first team is the one that gets jumped on and it's our bench that brings us back into the game," Paul told the team's official website. "It's a long season. The bench can't bail us out every night."

Paul, who spent his first six seasons with the Hornets, did his own damage in three games against his former team last season, averaging 24.7 points and 10.7 assists as the Clippers won the last two meetings at home.

He scored 33 points, dished out 13 assists and had eight steals in Los Angeles' 107-98 win in the last matchup April 22.

New Orleans' rebuilding effort has gotten tougher with the absences of former Clipper Eric Gordon - who came over in the Paul trade - and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, who has missed four consecutive games with a stress reaction in his left ankle and six overall due to injury.

Davis could possibly be out until January, which doesn't bode well for the Hornets (3-9), whose skid reached seven after a 102-84 loss Sunday at Denver.

Brian Roberts scored a team-high 17 points off the bench while Ryan Anderson added 16.

Rookie Austin Rivers, shooting just 29.6 percent, finished 2 for 10 from the field and scored five points.

''We are having problems right now,'' said Greivis Vasquez, who scored six points after netting a career-high 25 in Friday's loss to Phoenix. ''We are just embarrassed.''

New Orleans, which concludes its four-game road trip Monday, shot 38.8 percent and committed 14 turnovers, including six by Vasquez.

''The NBA is a cruel league,'' coach Monty Williams said. ''They try to embarrass you every night and that's what you saw (Sunday).''

The Paul-led Hornets won 15 of the previous 16 matchups before dealing the point guard to the Clippers prior to last season.

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