Published November 20, 2014
The public perception of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling doesn't quite resemble the dictionary definition of his surname. However, the way his team has been playing this season should erase that.
The red-hot Clippers target their 11th victory in a row Wednesday night versus the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center, where the hosts can match a franchise-record winning streak set by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.
Los Angeles completed a perfect four-game road trip with an 88-76 triumph Monday against the Detroit Pistons as Blake Griffin scored 15 points, Jamal Crawford ended with 15 off the bench and Chris Paul registered 14 points and seven assists.
"I think that's the most wins I've ever had in a row since I've been in the league," Paul said of the Clippers' 10-game win streak. "It's nice to win, especially when you do it in a row."
Paul is nine assists shy of 5,000 in his career and is just one of two players (Russell Westbrook) averaging at least 16 points, eight assists and two steals this season.
The Clippers haven't lost since Nov. 26 at home to the Hornets and are riding a five-game home winning streak. They are 10-3 at home this season and will also welcome the Sacramento Kings on the residency.
L.A. hopes to get off to a quick start and is 13-1 when leading after the first 12 minutes. The Clippers are 15-4 when their bench outscores the opposition's and have posted a 13-0 mark when holding teams below 43 percent shooting. The Clips held Detroit to 40.8 percent from the field and are fourth in the NBA in defense (93.1 ppg).
New Orleans is heading in the opposite direction of the Clippers, having dropped eight in a row, and will continue a four-game trek Wednesday.
The Hornets have lost the first two installments of their road swing, losing to both Portland and Golden State. In a 103-96 setback to the Warriors on Tuesday, Ryan Anderson connected on four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 28 points and Greivis Vasquez padded his stats with 20 points, 11 assists and five rebounds.
"We just haven't found that closing mentality, a couple guys who can knock down a shot or even get to the free throw line," Hornets coach Monty Williams said.
New Orleans, which is 2-9 away from the Big Easy, is mired in a four-game road losing streak and hasn't won as the guest since the aforementioned victory over the Clippers last month.
The Hornets have the worst record in the Western Conference at 5-19 and will wrap up the trip Friday at San Antonio. They have dominated this series with the Clippers and are 17-3 in the past 20 matchups. These two clubs have split the previous 16 encounters at Staples Center.