Blake Griffin had 17 points and 15 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers had more offensive options than Charlotte in a 92-87 victory over the Bobcats on Monday night that matched teams missing their leading scorers.
With Eric Gordon sidelined again with more wrist problems, the Clippers got 17 points from Mo Williams, and 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from Chris Kaman in their third straight victory.
Charlotte fell to 1-5 since trading Gerald Wallace and lost their second straight since Stephen Jackson was sidelined with a strained hamstring.
Gerald Henderson scored 20 points and Boris Diaw added 15 of his 19 points in the first half for the Bobcats, who have dropped a season-high five straight.
Eric Bledsoe hit two 3-pointers and Randy Foye added another in a 15-4 run to give the Clippers a 74-67 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats, struggling to find consistent scoring, got within four at 89-85 before Bledsoe hit one of two free throws with 18.2 seconds to put it away.
There's little margin for error with the Bobcats these days after owner Michael Jordan traded the former All-Star Wallace for future draft picks. Charlotte couldn't overcome a 4-of-16 shooting performance from point guard D.J. Augustin to fall to 1½ games behind idle Indiana for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Clippers started a five-game trip with a rare road victory — they improved to 6-25 away from Staples Center. They also moved to 5-16 without Gordon.
He was in his second game back after missing 18 with a sprained right wrist when he aggravated the injury in Saturday's win over Denver. Coach Vinny Del Negro said Gordon suffered no serious damage, but he would likely miss at least the rest of the Clippers' road trip.
The Clippers didn't need him with Griffin overcoming a slow start and Charlotte coach Paul Silas' decision to put the smaller Dominic McGuire on him instead of Diaw.
Griffin hit five of 11 shots, but was 7 of 8 free throws for the Clippers, who got to the line 29 times in snapping a three-game losing streak in Charlotte.
But these undermanned Bobcats look nothing like the team that made the playoffs last season.
Jackson, who aggravated an old injury last Friday against the Lakers, was still limping at the morning shootaround but said he'd try to do a little in practice Tuesday. He wouldn't rule out playing Wednesday against Chicago, although Silas was more cautious.
Silas was more confident Wednesday could mark the return of forward Tyrus Thomas, who missed his 23rd straight game following left knee surgery. Thomas is scheduled to practice in full Tuesday if he's cleared by doctors.
Charlotte desperately needs bodies, especially after guard Matt Carroll was sidelined in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle.
The lone bright spot early was Diaw, who had shot 4 of 23 from the field in the last three games prompting Silas to say, "He's not shooting well at all, he's not rebounding, nothing."
Diaw hit six of eight shots in the first half, but faded after halftime along with the rest of the team as Charlotte has its longest losing streak since dropping seven in a row early last season.
Notes: Silas said it was important Jackson didn't come back too soon. "He looks at us and I'd be anxious to get back, too," Silas said. "But he just can't do that. He's got to wait until he's completely healed." ... Bobcats G Garrett Temple, signed to a 10-day contract earlier Monday, didn't play. ... Clippers C DeAndre Jordan and F Ryan Gomes picked up third-quarter technical fouls for complaining.