Brandon Roy has played in just two game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, but he represents the Portland Trail Blazers' best shot to finally beat them there.
The slumping Blazers, however, will be without Roy for the second straight game as they look to avoid a ninth straight road defeat against the Clippers when the teams meet Wednesday night.
Portland (29-28) has struggled in recent weeks, losing 12 of its last 16, but it's in much better position than the previous three seasons, when it finished with a winning percentage of .390 or lower each time.
Games versus the Clippers (19-35) at Staples Center haven't helped. Portland hasn't beaten Los Angeles there since a 97-93 victory on Dec. 18, 2002, averaging just 89.8 points during the skid.
These teams will be meeting for the first time since the Blazers lost 108-89 in Los Angeles on April 13. Los Angeles won three of four games against Portland last season, and has won seven of the last eight matchups.
This will be the Blazers' second straight game at Staples Center. They shot 36.1 percent (30-for-83) from the field in a 96-83 loss to the streaking Los Angeles Lakers there Tuesday night.
Portland played without Roy, who aggravated a right ankle sprain in a 112-102 loss to Boston on Sunday. The 6-foot-6 guard, averaging a team-high 19.3 points and 5.7 assists per game in his second season, has headed back to Portland for an MRI. He played in both of Portland's road games against the Clippers last season, averaging 10.5 points per contest.
Blazers coach Nate McMillan said he hopes Roy will be ready to play the Lakers on Friday in Portland. Travis Outlaw is starting in Roy's place.
Roy's absence hurt against the Lakers as Portland shot under 40 percent from the field for the 10th time this season and the sixth time in its last 16 games.
It was the seventh straight road loss for the Blazers, dropping them to 8-20 away from the Rose Garden this season.
"It's a long season, and part of what we're doing here is trying to teach these guys how to get through an 82-game schedule playing at this level and with this type of intensity, mentally and physically," McMillan said.
In Portland's previous road game, it shot 37.2 percent (29-for-78) from the floor in a 99-87 loss to lowly Seattle on Friday night.
Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge, however, had 23 points in that game and finished with 24 versus the Lakers. He may have some extra room to work with in the paint, as Clippers center Chris Kaman continues to nurse a sore lower back. His has missed two straight games, and his status for Wednesday's contest is uncertain.
Los Angeles is 1-6 this season without Kaman, who is averaging a career-best 16.2 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks a game.
"It is really hard. We miss Kaman controlling the paint, getting boards and altering shots," Clippers forward Al Thornton said.
Aaron Williams, who is starting for Kaman, had four points and two rebounds in Los Angeles' 104-76 loss to Boston on Monday night.
The Clippers are in danger of losing three straight for the first time in February.
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