Posted Dec 12 2006 2:50PM
A loss to the Utah Jazz a month ago ended the Los Angeles Clippers' season-high winning streak. They hope a different result this time around will keep another run in tact.
The injury-riddled Clippers go for their fifth straight home win over the Jazz on Wednesday in the second meeting between the teams this season.
Los Angeles (10-10) had won five consecutive games entering its Nov. 14 meeting with the Jazz in Utah, but was held without a field goal for a 10:27 stretch in the second half en route to a 112-90 loss. That defeat started a current stretch of nine losses in 14 games for the Clippers.
Los Angeles has fared better at home, however, especially against Utah (16-5). The Clippers are 9-3 at Staples Center this season and have won their last four meetings with the Jazz there.
Extending that run may be a struggle, though, as they enter this matchup banged-up.
Second-leading scorer Sam Cassell left Monday's 103-81 loss to San Antonio in the second quarter with a left foot injury and didn't return. The Clippers were already playing without forward Corey Maggette, who is day-to-day with a bruised left knee and tendinitis in his left Achilles', and center Chris Kaman, who had a stomach virus.
Cassell's status for Wednesday is uncertain.
``The great thing about last year with our ball club was when guys went down with injuries or whatever it was, other guys came in and stepped up,'' said Clippers leading-scorer Elton Brand, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds Monday. ``That's what we need, but right now the guys that we need to step up even have injuries. Tim (Thomas) hurt his hand and we've got Sam and his ankle. It's a tough time for us right now.
``We're up and down. We need to get a nice flow, get some wins and we'll be alright.''
The Jazz have gotten plenty of wins this season, boasting the NBA's best record. They scored 100 or more points for the 17th time on Monday, cruising past defending Western Conference champion Dallas 101-79.
The win gave coach Jerry Sloan the 1,000th of his career, but he was more focused on the team's success than his individual accomplishment.
``That's how Coach is. Coach is one of those guys that's the same guy every day. He's not going to celebrate a big win,'' said Jazz leading scorer Carlos Boozer, who had 31 points and 11 rebounds against the Mavericks. ``That's not who he is. He has bigger goals in mind.''
One of those goals is likely improving the team's recent play away from home. The Jazz won five of their first six road games, but have since lost three straight. They have been outscored by an average of 16.7 points during that skid and are averaging 18.3 turnovers.
Mehmet Okur scored 27 points in the early season win over the Clippers and has been Utah's leading scorer in its last four matchups against them. He is averaging 16.6 points in 11 career games versus Los Angeles, his second-best mark against any opponent and well above his 12.2 career average.
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