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Davis Is the Latest Test

December 09, 2002|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

The Clippers haven't exactly played their best defense against the league's top guards. To be sure, the NBA is top-heavy with talented guards who can turn opponents to mush with crossover dribbling and slashing moves to the basket.

But the Clippers' track record in the opening 20 games of the season has been dismal, dating to opening night, when Ricky Davis of the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 25 points against them.

Kobe Bryant of the Lakers scored 33 against the Clippers. Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets twice scored 35 points against them. Orlando's Tracy McGrady scored 32 and 35. Houston's Steve Francis scored 31, as did Sacramento's Bobby Jackson.

Next: Baron Davis of the Hornets tonight at New Orleans.

Davis, a former UCLA standout, has a herniated disk that might require surgery before season's end, however.

Davis originally was scheduled to sit out for five games, but was sidelined for only one last week. His streak of 262 consecutive games to begin his NBA career ended when he sat out the Hornets' victory against the Boston Celtics. But he has since played in three in a row.

Given that the Hornets played without Jamal Mashburn because of health problems last season, the question of when to have surgery is a difficult one for Davis and the team.

"We'll leave it up to him," Hornet Coach Paul Silas said recently. "But I hope [he doesn't need it]. That would really set him back and set us back."


Coincidence? A free agent at season's end, Elton Brand had 25 points and 13 rebounds Wednesday against Miami and tied his season best with 26 points plus 17 rebounds Saturday against Minnesota. David Falk, Brand's agent, watched both games at Staples Center.

Brand has scored 20 or more points in five consecutive games and taken 12 or more rebounds in four in a row, raising his season averages to 18.4 points and 12.1 rebounds.



at New Orleans, 5:30 PST

Site -- New Orleans Arena.

Radio -- KXTA (1150).

Records -- Clippers 8-12, Hornets 15-6.

Record vs. Hornets (2001-02) -- 1-1.

Update -- This is the Clippers' first visit to play the Hornets at New Orleans. The franchise relocated from Charlotte, N.C., during the off-season. The Hornets have won their first 11 games at New Orleans, but haven't been filling the 17,200-seat New Orleans Arena. Six of 11 home dates have attracted crowds of fewer than 14,000. Poor attendance was one of the major reasons the league approved the Hornets' move.

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