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Clippers-Mavericks Preview (Dec. 5)

Posted By Taylor Smith On Dec 5 2012 @ 3:02 pm In Los Angeles Clippers,NBA | No Comments

So far, the 2012-13 season has been one of streaks for your Los Angeles Clippers.

They followed a six-game winning streak early in the year with an awful four-game losing streak, and have broken that skid by winning another three consecutive games heading into Wednesday evening’s matchup at Staples Center with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks (8-9) have been struggling quite a bit following a hot start, having dropped three-of-four. However, they did earn a relatively easy 15-point win in their last game against the lowly Pistons on Saturday.

This will be the first trip back to Staples Center to face the Clippers for current Mavs center Chris Kaman, who was shipped off to New Orleans (the Pelicans!) prior to last season in the Chris Paul blockbuster trade. In his first year in Dallas, Kaman is averaging 13.6 points, nearly seven rebounds and just over one blocked shot per game.

Of course, Kaman’s return won’t be the only reunion to take place Wednesday night, as Lamar Odom will face Dallas for the first time since essentially being asked to leave the team late last season after a horrendous output. Odom endured the worst statistical year of his career after being traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks, averaging just over six points and four boards in 50 games. This season hasn’t been any better so far for Odom, as he’s averaging just over two points and three rebounds per game. Fortunately, because of the Clippers’ tremendous depth, his inauspicious start hasn’t cost the team too dearly.

Former Clipper standout Elton Brand also plays for the Mavericks, while Clipper starting small forward Caron Butler, in his second season in L.A., will be facing the team with which he won a championship in 2011.

L.A. (11-6) eked out a 105-104 win in Utah on Monday, led by Blake Griffin’s 30 points and 11 rebounds. It was the first home loss of the season for the Jazz. The Clips also got a nice boost off-the-bench from Jamal Crawford, who poured in 20 in 30 minutes, including free-throws late that essentially iced the victory.

The Clippers will have to contend with O.J. Mayo, who leads the Mavs in scoring, at just over 20 points per game. Mayo is in his first season with Dallas since coming over from Memphis during the offseason. He struggled tremendously coming off-the-bench during the Grizzlies’ seven-game first-round playoff series loss against the Clippers last year, scoring under nine points per game on horrendous 27 percent shooting from the field.

Of course, this is a very different-looking Dallas team than the Clippers saw last season, when they took two of the three matchups with the Mavs. They’re without future Hall-of-Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has yet to step foot on the floor this season following offseason knee surgery. However, he is traveling with the club during this three-game road trip, so they’re hopeful that his return is imminent. Kaman, Brand, Mayo and Darren Collison are all among the Mavericks in their first season with the team.

Tip-off will be at 7:30pm PT this evening.

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