News » Pacers-Clippers Preview 2009-12-05

Pacers-Clippers Preview 2009-12-05

Pacers-Clippers Preview 2009-12-05The Indiana Pacers' only highlight in nearly three weeks is a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

For the Clippers, that defeat represents one of their few recent stumbles.

The Pacers will try to avoid a season-high fifth consecutive loss by winning their third straight over the Clippers on Saturday night. Los Angeles, meanwhile, is attempting to bounce back from a disappointing loss with its fifth win in seven games.

An 86-73 home victory over the Clippers on Nov. 25 remains Indiana's lone win in nine games since Nov. 18. The Pacers (6-11) have also dropped all five road contests in that span, and need to win this contest to avoid a winless four-game road trip.

Indiana limited Los Angeles to season lows for points and field-goal percentage (32.2) last month, but has allowed an average of 106.7 points in the last nine games and 111.3 during its four-game losing streak.

The Pacers avoided giving up 100 points for the eighth time in nine contests Friday night, but fell 96-87 defeat to Utah.

The Jazz opened the game on a 22-3 run, but Indiana rallied to within four midway through the fourth quarter. The Pacers then went cold again, scoring nine points over the final 8:35.

"Our guys played with a tremendous amount of force when they got down," coach Jim O'Brien said. "They competed and they put themselves in position to win, but we missed way too many foul shots."

The Clippers have lost only twice since Nov. 20 but one of those defeats came Wednesday, 102-85 at home against Houston. Los Angeles (8-11) gave up 100 points for the first time in six games and shot 1 of 14 from 3-point range as its three-game home win streak was snapped.

"I'm disappointed by our mental and physical toughness," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "When the ball is not going in the hole for us, that's when we need to become more focused and more determined defensively. We got outrebounded by 14 in the second half, and that just shows they were tougher than we were."

Indiana should finally have leading scorer Danny Granger in the lineup against the Clippers. Granger, averaging 25.2 points per game, has missed the last three matchups between these teams. A sprained left knee ligament kept him out of the Nov. 25 victory.

He's scored 20 points in five straight games overall - including 26 on Friday night - but has averaged only 10.0 on 34.8 percent shooting in four career starts against the Clippers.

In his absence in last month's matchup, Troy Murphy scored 10 of his season-high 18 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Clippers guard Baron Davis matched a season high with 25 points against the Pacers, and he's averaged 21.0 on 50.8 percent shooting in his last four games.

Davis is also averaging 23.6 points in his last five meetings with the Pacers.

The Clippers might need to play without Eric Gordon, who missed Wednesday's game due to a strained left hamstring.

Dunleavy, whose son Mike Jr. plays for the Pacers, will coach his 1,300th regular-season game Saturday, tying fellow former New York coach Red Holzman for 16th on the NBA's all-time list.

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Added: December 5, 2009


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