Peja Stojakovic has been particularly effective from long range against the Los Angeles Clippers in recent years. After their last game, the New Orleans Hornets could certainly use another sharp performance from him.
Stojakovic and the Hornets look to bounce back from one of their worst shooting games of the season when they visit the lowly Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
New Orleans (20-11) had a five-game winning streak end Monday night, shooting 19.2 percent (5-for-26) from 3-point range in a 97-92 loss to Toronto. The Hornets missed their first 10 shots from beyond the arc, and made fewer than six 3-pointers in a game for just the ninth time this season.
"We just went cold," said David West, who had 33 points on 15-of-21 shooting while his teammates made just 33.9 percent from the field.
Stojakovic connected three times from long range, but also led the team with nine attempts as he finished with 19 points. The veteran forward is perennially one of the league's best 3-point shooters, making 40.0 percent of his attempts for his career.
In his last 10 games against the Clippers (10-19), Stojakovic is shooting 50.0 percent (26-for-52) from beyond the arc while averaging 19.8 points.
Stojakovic's teams are 9-1 in those games, including New Orleans' 98-89 win on Nov. 24. He went 3-for-4 from 3-point range in that contest and the Hornets finished 8-for-15 (53.3 percent), one of seven times this season they have made at least half of their attempts.
The Hornets got 24 points from their bench versus the Clippers, but their reserves combined for just six points on 3-of-19 shooting Monday. With the bench struggling, Chris Paul played 44 minutes to finish with 23 points and 16 assists, but - perhaps because of fatigue - the 88.4-percent foul shooter missed two free throws that would have given New Orleans the lead with 25.8 seconds left.
Paul has struggled in seven games against Los Angeles, averaging 13.9 points while making one of his 15 attempts (6.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Paul will match up with Clippers point guard Sam Cassell, who is averaging 17.5 points in two games since returning to the starting lineup. Cassell missed most of December with a calf injury.
Los Angeles had lost five straight with Cassell starting, and six in a row overall before beating Minnesota 91-82 on Monday night. The Clippers won despite shooting a franchise-worst 0-for-14 from 3-point range.
Cassell's injury hasn't been Los Angeles' only health issue this season.
Elton Brand (Achilles' tendon) and Shaun Livingston (knee) have yet to play this season and are expected to miss at least another three months. Tim Thomas, meanwhile, has been sidelined three straight games with a sprained left knee and is listed as doubtful for Wednesday's contest.
"We know our situation," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "I hate the fact that we're injured and we haven't been winning. But I absolutely love where we are, as far as the pieces we have in place and how far we can go if we're healthy. I think we can have one of the best teams in the West."
Los Angeles is beginning 2008 with five straight games at home, where it had lost seven straight before beating Minnesota. Ten of the Clippers' 13 games in January will be at Staples Center.
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