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Nets-Clippers Preview

Nets-Clippers Preview
A rough start to their final extended road trip of the season has not helped the New Jersey Nets' position in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Nets look to avoid a third straight loss on their five-game trip Sunday night while trying to prevent a fifth consecutive road defeat to the lowly Los Angeles Clippers.

With 17 games remaining, New Jersey (28-37) is 10th in the East, but only one game behind Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Nets, though, haven't played like a playoff contender of late.

New Jersey fell 109-100 at Portland on Friday for its fifth loss in seven games. The Nets opened the trip with a 116-112 defeat at non-contender Golden State on Wednesday.

"It's hard, we're in this to win this thing," said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, whose team plays at Denver on Monday before concluding the trip at New York on Wednesday. "It's not about consolation prizes, it's about trying to continue to fight through."

Devin Harris scored 27 points, Brook Lopez had 22 and Vince Carter added 19 on Friday for the Nets, who have also lost three in row and six of their last seven away from home.

Though New Jersey is shooting 48.4 percent and averaging 106.2 points - 7.4 more than their season average - in its last five games, it's giving up 109.2 per game during that span.

"We have to stick with it," said Carter, who has reached the 20-point mark just three times in his last 11 games. "Guys are upset, (but) we can't let it linger."

The Nets would appear to have a good chance to get well against the Clippers (15-50), who look to avoid an eighth straight loss after falling 107-94 at Denver on Saturday. New Jersey, however, hasn't beaten the Clippers in Los Angeles since a 102-96 victory Nov. 27, 2003 .

The Nets did beat the Clippers 112-95 at home Nov. 22. Carter had 26 points and Harris added 18 with 10 assists as the Nets shot 50.7 percent and outrebounded the Clippers 45-31.

Harris is averaging 28.6 points and 10 assists in his last five games overall, but has totaled 34 points and 15 assists in five career road games versus the Clippers.

Yi Jianlian, the 6-foot-11 2007 first-round draft pick of Milwaukee who's been a disappointment during his brief NBA career, scored a season-high 27 points against the Clippers in November.

Los Angeles' Baron Davis had a season-high 30 points with 10 assists in that matchup, and Al Thornton added 20 points. Thornton scored 19 and Davis added 12 with 10 assists in Saturday's loss to the Nuggets.

Plagued by injuries and inconsistency, the Clippers have lost 50 games for the second straight year and the 20th time in the last 27 seasons without a work stoppage. On Sunday, Los Angeles will try to avoid a sixth straight defeat at home.

Leading scorer Zach Randolph is expected back for this contest after missing Saturday's game to attend his father's funeral. Randolph is averaging 22.2 points in 27 games since the Clippers acquired him from the Knicks.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 15, 2009


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