Wizards-Clippers Preview

The Associated Press

A visit from the Washington Wizards might seem an ideal way for the Los Angeles Clippers to bounce back from a disappointing end to their successful road trip.

The Wizards, though, have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start to their own extended trip and will try to stay unbeaten on that trek Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (17-9) finished 4-2 on its trip but narrowly missed out on a victory Monday against Dallas, where Caron Butler missed a potential go-ahead 3-point attempt with four seconds to go in the 96-92 defeat.

"Our guys battled. We had some opportunities. I'm pleased with the effort but obviously not the result," coach Vinny Del Negro. "We competed well and had our chances, but weren't able to convert against a good team. We've got to get home and get feet under us.

Butler, though, was also responsible for keeping his team in the game with a season-high 23 points and eight rebounds. The forward also played for the Wizards (7-22) for four-plus seasons before being traded to Dallas on Feb. 13, 2010.

His former team is 3-10 on the road, but Washington has earned two of those victories to kick off its five-game trip. After blowing out Detroit in the opener Sunday, Washington shot 60.0 percent during its best scoring performance this season, a 124-109 win over Portland on Tuesday.

Nick Young scored a season-high 35 points and made seven of eight attempts from 3-point range during his team's third win in five games. John Wall was 10 of 14 overall while contributing 29 points and nine assists.

"It shows that we can definitely compete with anybody," said guard Jordan Crawford, who had 21 points.

Young and Wall scored only 14 points apiece and Crawford had 12 during a 107-81 drubbing at home to the Clippers on Feb. 4. Blake Griffin paced Los Angeles with 21 points while playing just three quarters.

When he exited, the Clippers were ahead 87-53 en route to their sixth consecutive win in the series. Los Angeles has won three in a row over Washington at the Staples Center and six of seven, but needed double overtime to claim a 127-119 victory there last season.

Griffin had the first of his two career triple-doubles during that game with 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. Wall scored a then-career high 32 points in the matchup of 2009 and 2010 No. 1 draft picks, respectively.

Griffin has averaged 26.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists during his three lifetime games against Washington, but the Clippers' other star, point guard Chris Paul, has struggled in the past four matchups, averaging 9.5 points.

He had two points on 1-of-8 shooting during the victory in Washington earlier this month. His counterpart for the Wizards, Wall, has averaged 23.7 points in three games against the Clippers - his best against any opponent.

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