VERSUS
 
DECEMBER 12, 2012
Tip-off: 4:30 PM
Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, NC
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By Rafael Guerrero

Just hours after winning their seventh consecutive game, the Clippers (15-6) flew nearly 600 miles to prepare to take on the upstart Charlotte Bobcats (7-13) on Wednesday night, continuing the team’s four-game road trip. 

The Clippers victory on Tuesday marked the franchise’s longest winning streak in two decades. During the streak, the Clippers have held their opponents to 91.5 points per game and allowed 100 points or more just once against the Utah Jazz on Dec. 3. It was also the only time during the seven-game winning streak that the Clippers allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50% as the Jazz went 42-for-74 (56.8%) from the field.

The game at Time Warner Cable Arena Wednesday marks the Clippers’ fifth back-to-back of the season. They have won the front end of consecutive games on three of the four occasions and are 2-2 on the back end. It is also the Clippers fourth game in five days after they defeated the Suns and Raptors this past weekend at Staples Center.

LAST TIME OUT

Clippers 94, Bulls 89: Fresh off receiving his first-career Western Conference Player of the Week award, Blake Griffin got started on his case for a second consecutive honor, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. It was his ninth double-double of the season and second against the Bulls, helping the Clippers complete the season sweep.

Chris Paul finished with 18 points and four assists to go along with three steals. The Clippers floor general came up with a clutch runner in the lane to put the Clippers up 91-87 after Marco Belinelli drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two with less than a minute to go.

The Clippers bench outscored Chicago’s reserves 34-21, led by Matt Barnes’ 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes.

Warriors 104, Bobcats 96: The Bobcats allowed the Warriors to score 38 points in the opening period and trailed by 15 after the first quarter and they were never able to recover.

Kemba Walker continued to show how much his game has improved in his sophomore season in the NBA, leading the Bobcats with 24 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and recently named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, chipped in with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists and Ben Gordon added 14 in just 15 minutes off the bench.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP 

Jamal Crawford vs. Ben Gordon. Crawford had a quiet night scoring against Chicago, netting just 10 points but he did manage five assists, including an alley-oop to Griffin and a bounce pass to a cutting Barnes late in the game. He is second on the team averaging 17.5 points a game.

After a forgetful season in Detroit last year, Gordon appears rejuvenated this year in Charlotte and may be one of Crawford’s biggest competitors for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. Gordon is averaging 14.2 points per game and has been outstanding from distance, shooting 47.1% on his 3-pointers and 45% from the field overall.

TWO THINGS TO WATCH 

Going Streaking. The Clippers are looking to win their eighth consecutive game Wednesday, which would match the team’s eight-game winning streak from the 1991-92 season. They are also trying to continue to be a factor in their opponent’s respective streaks. The Clippers snapped the Bulls’ three-game winning streak on Tuesday and added to the Raptors’ woes on Sunday, handing Toronto their tenth consecutive road loss.

Enter the Bobcats, who are in the midst of an eight-game slide after starting the year 7-5, matching their win total from all of last season. They have lost their last three games by a combined 53 points.

Hitting the Century Mark On The Road. The Clippers are sixth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 102.3 points per game. But they have managed to score more than 100 points on the road only twice this season and only once away from Staples Center. They beat the Lakers 105-95 in the second game of the season and lost at Oklahoma City in overtime despite scoring 111 points.

On the other side, first-year head coach Mike Dunlap preached defense during training camp for the Bobcats but the results have been less than ideal. They have allowed their opponents to score more than 100 points in their last six losses. The Warriors 38-point first quarter on Monday also marked the fourth consecutive quarter the Bobcats had allowed at least 35 points, a streak they snapped by holding the Warriors to 20 points in the second quarter of the game.

Notes: Griffin averaged a double-double and shot 63.9% in four games last week to earn his first Western Conference Player of the Week award… The Clippers are currently first in the Pacific Division, a game ahead of the Golden State Warriors. They are also fourth overall in the Western Conference, 2.5 games back of top-seeded San Antonio… Walker has scored 20 or more points in four of his last five games and seven times overall this season for the Bobcats… Kidd-Gilchrist has scored in double figures in four of the last six games… A win in Charlotte would match the best start in franchise history for the Clippers. The 1974-75 Buffalo Braves started 16-6.