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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 12th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Clippers (52-26) at New Orleans Hornets (27-52), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers have already locked up the first Pacific Division title in franchise history, but can still improve their playoff position in the West standings.
The Clippers will take their three-game winning streak to the road Friday in a matchup with the New Orleans Hornets in the Big Easy. The Pacific champions just went 3-1 on a four-game homestand, which culminated with Wednesday's 111-95 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul scored 19 points apiece and Willie Green settled for 15 points in the win. Matt Barnes (14 points), Jamal Crawford (11 points) and Lamar Odom (13 rebounds) contributed off the bench, while DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler scored 10 points apiece.
"Our tempo was good tonight," said Paul, who added 11 assists to his total. "We played fast. We made them miss and then we pushed the ball up the court. We try to tire teams out."
Los Angeles, which will also visit Memphis and is 21-17 away from home, sits two games behind Denver for the third spot in the West. The Clippers are only 1-5 in their last six road assignments.
In injury news for the Clippers, guard Chauncey Billups is listed as doubtful Friday because of a nagging groin issue. He has missed six straight and nine of the last 10 games.
New Orleans is back home for two straight games versus the Clippers and Dallas Mavericks, and went 1-4 on a recent road trip.
The Hornets dropped a 121-110 decision at the hands of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday as Eric Gordon led all scorers with 23 points and rookie Anthony Davis delivered 13 points and 10 rebounds. Davis suffered a knee injury in the loss and is doubtful versus the Clippers.
Robin Lopez and Brian Roberts each added 20 points for the Hornets, who committed 19 turnovers for 25 Sacramento points and shot 48.7 percent.
"I didn't think we played smart offensively. Our game plan was to take it to the basket," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "When you're playing on a back-to-back a young team has to understand you may not have your legs so you got to trust going to the basket, getting fouled and being able to set your defense."
New Orleans is 16-23 as the host and has lost two of three matchups with the Clippers this season. The Hornets, though, have won 17 of the past 22 contests in this series with the Clips and 11 of 13 games at home.
L.A. ended a nine-game slide in the Big Easy with a 105-91 triumph on March 27 at New Orleans Arena.
04/12 10:22:22 ET
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