The Los Angeles Clippers are finally enjoying some success at home. The problem is their next opponent is also pretty comfortable playing at Staples Center.
The Clippers try to win five straight home games for the first time in more than three years Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, who look to continue their dominance at Staples Center and win their 10th straight in this series.
After being tied for the NBA's worst home record last season at 11-30, the Clippers (15-18) already have notched 10 victories in 18 home games in 2009-10. The Clippers defeated Portland 105-95 on Monday at Staples Center behind another impressive offensive performance.
The Clippers shot 57.7 percent from the floor against the Trail Blazers and are averaging 99.5 points on 51.2 percent shooting during their four-game winning streak in Los Angeles. The Clippers, who haven't won five straight home games since opening the 2006-07 season with six consecutive victories at Staples Center, averaged 87.3 points on 41.0 percent shooting in their previous four home games, winning just once.
Center Chris Kaman has played a major role in the Clippers' home resurgence. The 7-footer scored a team-high 20 points Monday and is averaging 24.0 points and 10.3 rebounds during the winning streak.
"We did a nice job of getting the ball into Kaman and letting him anchor us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.
While the Clippers are playing better, their recent home success pales in comparison to what Staples Center's other tenant has accomplished there.
The Lakers (28-6) have won 15 of 16 at Staples Center and are 20-3 there this season, including a season-opening 99-92 win over the Clippers. The Lakers were the host for that game, but it hasn't made much difference which team's logo is on the court for this series.
The defending champions have won nine straight over the Clippers since a 118-110 loss on April 12, 2007, and have outscored their hallway rivals by an average of 23.7 points in winning the last four as the visitors.
The Lakers have been winning with such ease, they haven't needed to rely on Kobe Bryant to carry them. The 11-time All-Star is averaging a mere 21.4 points in the nine games against the Clippers since the start of the 2007-08 season, his lowest scoring average against any Western Conference opponent in that span.
Bryant had 33 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the Oct. 27 meeting with the Clippers, while Kaman had 18 points and a season-best 16 rebounds.
Bryant finished with 22 points in Tuesday's 88-79 home win over Houston despite playing with an aching finger on his shooting hand.
"My finger was horrible, horrible," he said. "I had to make a lot of left-handed moves. I just got to play through it."
Bynum scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, while Odom had 17 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists. Ron Artest added seven points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes in his return to action after missing five games because of a concussion.
Gasol's injury isn't considered serious, but the Lakers are exercising extra precaution after the 7-foot Spaniard missed the first 11 games of the season with a strained right hamstring. His status for this game is uncertain.
"I guess it's just bad luck and hopefully it'll go away soon enough," Gasol said.