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Clippers-Raptors Preview


Clippers-Raptors Preview
Disappointing seasons for the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors have included a combined three victories in the past three weeks.

It's been six weeks since Los Angeles posted a road win, and a visit to Toronto on Sunday will be one of its best chances to get another one before the season ends.

While the Raptors (24-45) own the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference ahead of only Washington, the lone team below the Clippers (17-52) in the West is Sacramento. Toronto has lost nine of 10 since Feb. 25 while Los Angeles has gone 2-9.

The Clippers head into the second game of a six-game road trip having dropped seven straight away from home since winning in Atlanta on Feb. 7. Following Sunday's contest, six of their remaining seven road games come against teams which are currently at least 15 games above .500.

Despite acquiring Baron Davis and Marcus Camby in the offseason, Los Angeles is on track for its worst finish since going 15-67 in 1999-00 and needs a late push to match last season's 23 victories.

Injuries have disrupted the Clippers with no player appearing in all 69 games. Davis has missed 15 and scored 15.5 points per game - his lowest average since 2000-01. Camby has missed 11 of the past 30 with various injuries and would be among the league leaders with 11.9 rebounds per game but hasn't played enough to qualify.

Zach Randolph has missed 25 games since being acquired in a four-player deal with New York on Nov. 21. Chris Kaman returned March 10 after missing 48 games with a foot problem but has averaged 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds after totaling 15.7 points and 12.7 rebounds per game in 2007-08.

With all of those players back in action, the Clippers have shown a little spark in winning two of their last four. However, they couldn't beat a Detroit team missing four starters in a 108-90 loss Friday night despite leading by 12 in the second quarter.

"At one point when we had a 10-point lead, we should have had a 20-point lead," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Our bigs didn't control the paint like they should have and gave up too many easy buckets around the basket."

The Raptors, meanwhile, have failed to live up to expectations this season following consecutive playoff appearances. They're 8-24 since Jan. 10.

After a home win over Indiana last Sunday ended a seven-game skid, Toronto dropped both games of a home-and-home series with Charlotte this week, losing 112-86 on the road Monday night and 102-89 on Friday night.

"We've been talking about turning points all year, and to be honest, there's no turning points. We have to win a game first," forward Chris Bosh said. "Then we have to put a string of wins together before we have anything turn around."

The only Raptors to score in double figures Sunday were their most consistent contributors this season - Bosh with 35 and Andrea Bargnani adding 27. Bosh is scoring a career-best 22.8 points per game - his fourth straight averaging at least 22.0 - and Bargnani has averaged 19.3 points since Dec. 31, which allowed Toronto to trade Jermaine O'Neal to Miami.

Bosh has averaged 27.1 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last seven games against the Clippers, and he scored 31 in the Raptors' 97-75 win in Los Angeles on Dec. 22.

Toronto has won four of the last five meetings.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 21, 2009

 

 
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