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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.

Friday: at Boston (PRIME, 4:30 pm) - the Celtics are jockeying with the Grizzlies for position in the Greg Oden sweepstakes, currently in the middle of a ten-game losing streak. The Celtics are letting all of their young players gain experience while all-star Paul Pierce sits out with a foot injury - their oldest starter in yesterday's loss to Washington was Ryan Gomes at the ripe old age of 24. It's kind of like watching that team in Little League, the one whose right fielder is sitting in the weeds picking his nose while the ball rolls by his feet. Kinda cute, but kinda sad.

Sunday: at Toronto (PRIME, 9:00 am) - the Raptors are the surprise leaders of the Atlantic Division. Granted, they have a worse record than the Clippers, but they've already won nearly as many games this year (22) as they did all last season (27) when they "earned" the top pick in the draft. Clearly this plan has been so successful, the Celtics are trying to copy it. The Raptors actually came into Staples and stole a game from the Clips back in December with a T.J. Ford buzzer beater, despite the absence of star forward Chris Bosh. He's back, and will be matched up with Elton Brand, with the winner likely carrying his respective team to the win.

AP photo by John Froschauer