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Pacers-Clippers Preview

Pacers-Clippers Preview
The Indiana Pacers just missed a chance to beat one of the league's top home teams. Now they can bounce back by beating the worst.

Indiana looks to inch closer to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference as it finishes a three-game western swing Saturday night against the slumping Los Angeles Clippers.

The Pacers (27-37) fell to 1-1 on their trip Wednesday, losing 107-105 to a Portland team which is 25-5 at home. On the verge of snapping the Trail Blazers' nine-game win streak at the Rose Garden, Indiana blew a 14-point lead in the second half and Brandon Roy hit two game-winning free throws with 1.7 seconds left after T.J. Ford was whistled for a tripping foul.

"I thought it was a tough call at first but we came back and looked at it and thought the ref had a better look at it than we did," said Pacers guard Jarrett Jack, who missed a last-second 3-pointer. "We have no gripes or complaints."

Indiana is among a six-team logjam battling for the East's final playoff berth and will enter this matchup 2 1/2 games out of the eighth spot.

This game would appear to favor the Pacers' postseason chase. The Clippers (15-47) have lost four straight overall and own the NBA's worst home record at 8-24, having dropped their last three games at Staples Center by an average of 18.7 points.

Plus, Los Angeles could be without leading scorer Zach Randolph, who missed Wednesday's 118-95 home loss to Memphis to be with his ailing father in Indianapolis.

Indiana also will be missing its top scorer, with Danny Granger sidelined indefinitely by a torn tendon in his right foot. He's missed the last eight games but Jack has stepped up in his absence to average 21.5 points - more than nine above his season average.

Troy Murphy, meanwhile, is having one of his most productive seasons, averaging 13.9 points and a career-best 11.8 rebounds. Acquired from Golden State two seasons ago, Murphy now looks for his 10th straight double-double to break the franchise record he currently shares with Jermaine O'Neal and Detlef Schrempf.

In Indiana's last game visiting the Clippers, though, Murphy had five points and four boards off the bench in a 101-95 win on Dec. 2, 2007.

Murphy will likely have to face Marcus Camby on Saturday even though the Clippers center sat the final three quarters of Wednesday's loss with a migraine.

Camby, among the league leaders with 12.3 rebounds per game, had a season-high 20 points and 12 boards in a 117-109 double-overtime win at Indiana on Dec. 19. Murphy and Granger missed the game with viral infections.

Los Angeles continues its five-game homestand Saturday after getting outscored 23-2 in the second half by a Grizzlies team that was 3-23 on the road.

"It was very frustrating," said Al Thornton, who had 25 points Wednesday and against the Pacers in the first meeting this season. "We had leads, but there were too many careless turnovers and everybody on their team was making shots."

The Clippers have been held to an average of 88.5 points during their four-game skid, and now they'll try to keep up with an Indiana team which is among the league leaders with 104.8 per game.

Clippers rookie Eric Gordon has missed four straight games with a bruised left shoulder, but the Indianapolis native is expected to play Saturday. Gordon had 15 points in the Dec. 19 win at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 6, 2009


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