Poor road play is nothing new for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Los Angeles Clippers' struggles at Staples Center, meanwhile, are somewhat unexpected.
The Clippers look to snap a seven-game home losing streak Monday night when they face a Timberwolves team that has just one road win all season.
Los Angeles (9-19) had the NBA's ninth-best winning percentage at home over the previous three seasons, going 79-44 (.642). But injuries have decimated the Clippers, leaving them with one of league's worst records.
After going 25-16 at Staples Center in 2006-07, Los Angeles is 4-9 there this season. The Clippers have lost seven straight at home for the first time since a nine-game skid from March 14-April 14, 2004.
The Clippers have also lost six straight overall, but a matchup with the league-worst Timberwolves (4-25) may give them a good opportunity to pick up a win.
Minnesota is concluding a five-game stretch on the road, where it has lost 11 straight and is 1-15. The Wolves are in danger of losing 12 straight road games for the first time since a 14-game skid from Feb. 28-April 11, 2006.
Minnesota is rebuilding after trading Kevin Garnett to Boston in the offseason, but it struggled away from the Target Center in recent years even with its former star. The Wolves are a league-worst 42-97 on the road since the start of the 2004-05 season.
But even after shooting 39.4 percent (37-for-94) from the field in a 109-90 loss to Seattle, Minnesota is doing its best to keep its morale from sinking.
"We're not going to accept losing," said Sebastian Telfair, who was acquired from the Celtics in the Garnett trade. "Especially as a point guard, I'm not going to allow my team to do that."
Telfair is starting for the Wolves and is averaging a career-best 10.1 points, but shooting just 41.3 percent.
Minnesota's offense relies heavily on Al Jefferson, who was also picked up in exchange for Garnett. The fourth-year center, averaging a career-best 20.3 points, had a team-high 17 versus the Sonics.
Jefferson, however, is averaging just 11.4 points in five games against the Clippers. He will be battling in the paint with Chris Kaman, who is having a breakout season for Los Angeles.
Kaman had 22 points and 20 rebounds for the Clippers in a 94-88 loss to Phoenix on Friday night, bouncing back from a season-worst nine-point effort in a 108-88 loss to the Suns a day earlier. Kaman has flourished with Elton Brand (Achilles' tendon surgery) out, averaging 18.4 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Sam Cassell, who missed most of December with calf injury, was in the starting lineup Friday for the first time in three games since returning, and should help take some of the scoring load from Kaman.
"Scoring is never going to be a problem," said Cassell, who had 21 points Friday. "If I get the minutes, I'm going to score the basketball and get my team open shots."
Cassell, who played for the Timberwolves from 2003-05, averaged 21.0 points in three games against Minnesota in 2006-07, but Los Angeles lost the season series 2-1.
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