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NEW ORLEANS 108, CLIPPERS 94

Clippers can't get any relief

Two days of setbacks and trials, including the loss of Blake Griffin for the season, end with defeat to Hornets.

January 14, 2010|By Lisa Dillman | On The Clippers

Reporting from New Orleans — Finally, a decidedly miserable-looking 24 hours in the world of Clippers' basketball ended.

Where do you start?

Injuries, illness, arena evacuation and looming knee surgery for a No. 1 draft pick, power forward Blake Griffin.

Two losses on consecutive nights, the latest 108-94 to the Hornets on Wednesday at New Orleans Arena.

Where does it end?

Obviously, upcoming games on consecutive nights against the defending champion Lakers and (looming champion?) Cleveland doesn't exactly qualify as get-well cards.

This one didn't slip away all at once. The Clippers (17-20) trailed by two points at the half, fell behind by eight after the third quarter and watched the Hornets make four three-point baskets in the fourth quarter.

Talk about a contrast: The Clippers were one for 14 from three-point range, the Hornets nine for 27.

Chris Paul had 15 points and 15 assists, and Peja Stojakovic had 20 points, making four three-point baskets for New Orleans, which has defeated the Clippers 12 consecutive times.

"Making shots energizes players and we didn't get enough energy tonight," Coach Mike Dunleavy said.

Energy deficient, indeed.

The exceptions being Brian Skinner, who was six for nine for a season-high 14 points, and Marcus Camby, who grabbed 20 rebounds, two shy of his season high.

The likes of Baron Davis and Eric Gordon played big minutes Tuesday night at Memphis.

Coupled with the loss of Camby for the last three quarters Tuesday and not having Chris Kaman in either game stretched the Clippers' bench.

"I don't want to use that for an excuse," Rasual Butler said. "Everybody plays back to backs in the NBA. We just didn't have it tonight. Got to be mentally tough. If you give it all you can give, and you're tired, put your hand up and coach will get you [out].

"They played well tonight. We gave them some fastbreak opportunities that we hadn't been giving up lately."

Kaman, who was injured in pregame warmups in Memphis, said his back was feeling better and was reassured by an MRI test in New Orleans. He said he believes he may be able to play against the Lakers on Friday, but that could be optimism speaking.

Camby, at least, was on the mend from a stomach virus.

"I feel a whole lot better from the last two days," he said. "Started to feel a lot better today. Before the game [in Memphis], I wasn't going to play, but then I heard what happened to Chris. I was just trying to give the team all I had last night. The first 12 minutes was all I had for them.

"Coming here tonight just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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