After edging past one of the worst teams in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs look for a better performance against another one Sunday when they try to continue their domination of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Spurs (22-9), the reigning NBA champions and leaders of the Southwest Division, have won six consecutive games and 14 of the last 15 against the Clippers (10-20), the last-place club in the Pacific. Their lone loss in that span was a 98-85 defeat at Staples Center on March 7, 2006, but they have won their last three visits.
The Spurs will try to extend those streaks after finding things difficult of late, winning five of their last 11 games -- including a 99-90 victory over Los Angeles on Dec. 22 -- following an outstanding 17-3 start.
San Antonio used a strong 15-point performance from defensive specialist Bruce Bowen to get a 97-93 win over lowly New York on Friday, a night after losing 80-77 at Denver.
"We know we're getting everybody's best shot no matter how they're doing at the time," said Spurs forward Matt Bonner, who scored 14 points Friday.
Injuries have been a factor for San Antonio, which has lost four straight on the road since beating Minnesota on Nov. 30. Manu Ginobili, second on the team with 19.2 points per game and one of the best reserves in the league, has missed five games in a row with a sprained index finger and Brent Barry (7.7 ppg) has sat out four with a torn left calf muscle. The guards are not expected to return Sunday.
Parker, the Spurs' leader with 20.0 points per game and 6.7 assists, made 5-of-13 shots for 12 points and five assists against the Knicks. He was better in the last meeting with the Clippers, scoring 18 points with six assists.
Duncan was terrific in that contest against Los Angeles, shooting 13-for-22 for 34 points while grabbing a season-high 18 rebounds. The big man is looking to replicate that after faltering a bit against New York, missing all five of his fourth-quarter shots to finish with 12 points and nine boards.
The Clippers, losers of seven of their last eight, are hoping to rebound from a 95-81 defeat to New Orleans on Wednesday after snapping a six-game losing streak with Monday's 91-82 victory against Minnesota.
"We have to play the game with the same intensity that we played with the other night against Minnesota in the fourth quarter," Clippers guard Quinton Ross said. "We've got a lot of games left so hopefully we'll turn this thing around and go on a (winning) streak."
Los Angeles could use a better performance out of Chris Kaman, who made 1-of-10 shots for nine points and 11 rebounds against the Hornets. The center is averaging 18.0 points and is third in the NBA with 14.0 boards per game.
Kaman had 20 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks against San Antonio on Dec. 22.