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The CW (Clipper Weekly), 10th Edition

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Current Record: 22-22, 3rd Pacific, T-8th West

Last Week: It was a good week, but not quite a great week. The one game that the Clips really needed, they struggled offensively against Minnesota, taking a double-digit loss on the chin against their primary competition for the last playoff berth in the West. However, the Clips did manage to get to .500 with two routs against undermanned Milwaukee and a crummy Seattle squad. The highlight of the week was a thrilling one-point win over the Nets on Thursday, thanks to a Cuttino Mobley three-pointer with less than a second left (after the Clips had blown an 18-point second half lead). The Clippers also appear to be cooling off the Corey Maggette trade talks, with Donald Sterling not likely to approve a deal unless it is extremely favorable.

Quick Take: The Clippers play their next nine games against the woeful (L)Eastern Conference, leaving for their longest road trip of the season on Thursday morning, a seven-game swing which could be the defining moment of the year. The Clips have obviously been terrible this year on the road, but gained some confidence by splitting their last six-game trip at the beginning of the month. With the team at full-strength, and with the roster seemingly in place with Maggette apparently staying in LA, the Clips can focus on trying to play some consistent ball with a set rotation for the first time all year.

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This Week:

Wednesday: vs. Chicago (PRIME, 7:30 pm) – the Bulls are a lot like the Clippers in that they sport the second-best home record in the East, but the third-worst road record. Ben Gordon fills the instant offense role of Maggette, averaging 21.6 points per game despite coming off the bench. The Bulls are one of the top defensive teams, second in field goal percentage defense, buoyed by Ben Wallace’s intimidating presence around the basket, but are somewhat offensively challenged, held down by Wallace’s third-grade level shooting ability. The Clips will have to grind it out for four quarters to take this one down, which hasn’t exactly been their forte this season.