Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/25

Game 1: Thursday, January 25th
Nets101Final
Clippers102
Game 2: Sunday, March 18th
Clippers95Final
Nets101

Clippers 95

(30-36, 9-24 away)

Nets 101

(31-36, 18-16 home)

    Coverage: FSPI

    6:00 PM ET, March 18, 2007

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 24 21 25 2595
    NJ 27 21 22 31101

    Top Performers

    LAC: C. Maggette 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    NJ: J. Kidd 23 Pts, 6 Reb, 13 Ast, 6 Stl

    Clippers-Nets Preview

    STATS LLC

    Two teams struggling to stay in their respective playoff pictures square off Friday when the Los Angeles Clippers face the New Jersey Nets.

    Los Angeles (30-35) has lost five of six, and is one of five teams in a tight battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    The Nets (30-36) have gone 2-6 this month to fall into a pack of four teams competing for the last two berths in the East. Two years ago, New Jersey won 15 of its final 19 games to grab the No. 8 spot.

    "If we were to win 15 of 19 this season, we might win the (Atlantic) division," Nets forward Richard Jefferson said. "We're in a different position now. It is reminiscent in the fact that it is going to go down to the last game."

    Los Angeles helped its postseason hopes on Friday, snapping a five-game losing streak with a 102-93 win at Charlotte. Tim Thomas scored 24 points, one shy of his season high, and Elton Brand added 19 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double.

    Sam Cassell returned from a groin injury that had kept him out of five of Los Angeles' last seven games, and the Clippers responded with 27 assists, their highest total since losing fellow point guard Shaun Livingston to a knee injury in February.

    "We're moving the ball now instead of holding it," said Thomas, who matched a season high with six assists. "Overall, our confidence as a team is high."

    The Clippers' confidence may be high, but their road struggles are a cause for concern. They are 9-23 away from home -- only three teams in the NBA have fewer road wins -- and are halfway through a six-game road trip.

    Los Angeles had lost six straight road games before Friday's victory.

    "This game was a pivotal game for us," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had to have this win, and we have to get wins on the road."

    Los Angeles will have plenty of chances as it plays eight of its next 13 games away from home, starting with Sunday's visit to New Jersey, where the Clippers are 0-7 since 1998.

    The Clippers, though, have won the last two games in the series, including the only matchup this season. Cuttino Mobley made a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left to lift Los Angeles to a 102-101 win at Staples Center on Jan. 25.

    On Sunday, the Nets hope to avenge that loss and avoid dropping three straight against the Clippers for only the second time in franchise history. The Nets' worst losing streak in this series was three games between 1989 and 1990.

    To avoid matching that skid, New Jersey likely needs to shoot better than it did Thursday as it opened a three-game homestand with a 93-86 loss to Miami. The Nets made 38.8 percent from the field in blowing a chance for a third straight win.

    In their last 11 games, the Nets are 5-1 when they shoot 45 percent or better, and 0-5 when they shoot under 45 percent.

    Jefferson went 6-of-15 from the floor and had 20 points Thursday in his fifth game back from an ankle injury that required surgery in January.

    The Nets are hoping Jefferson's return is the boost they need to make a run at the postseason. Jefferson, the team's second-leading scorer last season, is averaging 21.3 points on 53.8 percent shooting over his last three games.

    "We're an improving team right now and we just got whole about a week ago," Jefferson said. "We're improving and playing better basketball."

    SPONSORED HEADLINES