Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy insists his team is playing good basketball on its current road trip, but the Clippers' slide down the Western Conference standings suggests otherwise.

The Clippers try to snap out of their recent funk as their road trip continues Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls.

Los Angeles (30-36) is 1-3 on its current six-game road swing and has lost seven of its last nine games overall. A 101-95 defeat to the New Jersey Nets on Sunday dropped the Clippers - who committed 18 turnovers - into ninth place in the West, one game behind the Golden State Warriors for the eighth and final playoff berth.

"Again our turnovers definitely hurt us,'' Dunleavy said. "I think other than that we had a little bit better cushion. We played a lot of good minutes on this trip. We haven't shown the Ws for it.''

One of the things that upset Dunleavy in Sunday's defeat was Elton Brand's inability to get to the foul line. Brand, who gets to the line almost six times per game on average, went just 1-for-2 from the stripe while the Nets went 14-for-19 in the third quarter alone.

"Obviously he must not have any kind of game, because every other star in this league gets to the free throw line, but since he can't get there anymore maybe he's lost his game,'' Dunleavy said sarcastically. "I don't know. As many times as he touches the ball, he's got to get to the free throw line more for us.''

Brand had his string of double-doubles end at four games with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists Sunday, and is averaging 22.3 points and 9.8 rebounds through the first four games of the road trip.

Chicago (39-29) is trying to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this month following a 104-103 defeat at Memphis on Saturday. The Bulls erased a seven-point deficit in the final 2:04, but could not pull out a victory against the NBA's worst team.

"Maybe we had this one coming,'' said Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, who finished with 16 points and six assists. "We haven't been playing well. Hopefully, this will send a message to us that we've just got to play better, especially at this point of the season. It's discouraging.''

This is the 10th time in the last 11 games the Bulls are playing a team with a losing record. They are 8-3 in that stretch - also losing to Orlando and Miami - but Hinrich likened the recent success to fool's gold.

"We just haven't been playing with the same energy and intensity on both ends of the floor that we need to be playing with,'' Hinrich said. "It carried over tonight. In the last two or three games, we played the same way, and we were able to win.

"Maybe we needed to lose one to get us to start playing better.''

Ben Gordon, who matched a season high with six 3-pointers, finished with 33 points and snapped out of a two-game slump in which he totaled just 19 points and shot 7-for-26 from the field.

The Bulls have lost five of their last six at home to the Clippers - who won the earlier meeting this season 110-98 on Jan. 31 - and are trying to avoid a season sweep. Chicago has dropped 11 of its last 13 overall to Los Angeles since the start of the 2001-02 season.


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