The Los Angeles Clippers are struggling without Chris Paul, and they're still not sure when he's coming back.
That may not matter against the lowly Washington Wizards.
The Clippers attempt to begin reversing a sluggish stretch without their All-Star point guard by continuing their dominance of the Wizards on Monday night.
Los Angeles (34-15) has dropped six of eight, and five of those defeats have come in the seven consecutive games without Paul, who is hampered by a bruised right kneecap. Overall, the injury has sidelined him for 10 of the past 12 games, and there's no timetable for his return.
The Clippers are 1-2 to begin this eight-game road trip after committing 21 turnovers in a 106-104 loss at Boston on Sunday.
"We're just a little out of rhythm," said forward Matt Barnes, who missed all six of his shots and failed to score. "Guys are just playing a little out of position, but that's no excuse."
Los Angeles hasn't needed any excuses when facing the Wizards lately. The Clippers have put up 108.0 points per game while winning eight straight in the series, including three consecutive wins at Washington by an average of 20.3 points.
Paul was a major reason that dominance continued Jan. 19, posting 22 points and 11 assists in a 94-87 home victory.
Blake Griffin turned in one of his worst shooting performances of the season in that game, needing to hit 7 of 10 free throws to get to 17 points since he was just 5 of 18 from the floor. Still, the All-Star forward is averaging 24.0 points and 11.8 rebounds in five career meetings with the Wizards.
Washington (11-35) is tied with Charlotte for the worst record in the NBA, and is struggling again even with John Wall back in the lineup.
The Wizards won six of their first nine after Wall returned from a stress injury to his left kneecap, but they've since dropped four in a row. They scored a season-low 26 points in the first half Saturday, and their comeback attempt fell short in a 96-86 loss at San Antonio.
"That's the way we gotta play throughout the whole game," Wall said. "We're not a team that can just turn it on in the second half. Everyone felt embarrassed to only have 26 points in a half."
The second quarter has been particularly troubling for Washington over the past three games, with a combined 30 points on 19.7 percent shooting - 0 for 15 from 3-point range.
Wall is trying to find some consistency himself after scoring 21 points - but needing 22 field-goal attempts to do so - against the Spurs. He's averaging 13.4 points over eight games since scoring a season-high 24 off the bench against the Clippers last month.
He has 22.6 points per game over five career meetings with Los Angeles.
Jordan Crawford managed only three points while making 1 of 5 from the floor in the latest matchup with the Clippers, and he's had a tough time scoring of late. Averaging 13.8 points on the season, he's totaled 21 during the Wizards' four-game skid while shooting 29.6 percent.
The Associated Press News Service
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