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Clippers kick off trek in Washington

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were named starters on the Star squad and look to get the Los Angeles Clippers back in the win column tonight against the Washington Wizards.

The Clippers will begin a six-game road trip against the Wizards, Magic, Cavaliers, 76ers, Bobcats and Mavericks, and are 3-4 away from home this season. They are much better as the host with a 10-3 ledger, however.

Los Angeles had a four-game winning streak come to an end with Thursday's 112-91 loss versus the Denver Nuggets, as Griffin paced LA with 18 points and Paul logged 15 and nine assists in defeat. The Clippers are still a half-game ahead of the Lakers for first place in the Pacific Division.

"We played alright for the first quarter and a half, and then the floodgates opened up," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Our energy wasn't there, we got outrebounded and we didn't manage the game well in any aspects."

Randy Foye and Mo Williams netted 17 and 13 points, respectively, for the Clippers, who had scored 100-plus points in three straight games and blew a comfortable 32-19 lead after the first 12 minutes of play. LA is averaging an NBA-best 30.9 points in the first quarter this season. DeAndre Jordan had only two points and nine rebounds and is still bothered by a hyper-extended left knee suffered against Utah in a win on Wednesday.

Caron Butler had 11 points after missing the win over the Jazz with a sore lower back. Paul was averaging 28.3 points, 10.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 3.7 rebounds in three games before facing the Nuggets. Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe (knee) is questionable for Saturday and has appeared in one game this season.

In other team news, the Clippers bolstered their roster by signing free agent Kenyon Martin on Friday. Martin played for the Xinjiang Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout, and was contractually obligated to wait until the end of the Tigers' season before returning to the NBA. He was cleared to play by FIBA, basketball's international governing body, on Thursday. Martin averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 48 games last season with the Denver Nuggets.

"Kenyon is the ultimate competitor and a key acquisition," stated club vice president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. "We expect that he will provide additional experience, passion and professionalism, as well as some important depth to our front court."

Meanwhile, the Wizards will begin a four-game homestand tonight versus the Clippers, Raptors, Knicks and Heat, and are 3-9 in D.C. this season.

Washington has lost three in a row and seven of its last nine games, including Friday's 106-89 loss to Toronto at Air Canada Centre. Nick Young led the Wizards with 21 points and John Wall finished with 15 points and five rebounds. Trevor Booker added 13 points and seven boards for Washington, which dropped to 4-19 on the season and shot 37.9 percent for the game.

The Wizards were killed on the boards to the tune of a 61-37 margin.

"There's not much to say about this one, you have to tip your hats to Toronto. They outplayed us in every phase of the game," Wizards interim head coach Randy Wittman said. "We fell back into some of our bad habits, we have to correct that."

Rashard Lewis finished with eight points and is six shy of reaching the 15,000-point mark in his career. Lewis will join Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd as the only players in NBA history who have scored at least 15,000 points, grabbed 5,000 rebounds and made 1,500 three-pointers.

Washington lost both meetings against the Clippers last season and has dropped five straight overall in this series. The Clippers, though, have lost seven of 10 trips to the nation's capital.