Bulls-Clippers Preview

Following a deflating loss, the Chicago Bulls' longest road trip of the season only gets tougher. Even the Los Angeles Clippers appear difficult to beat.

The Bulls look to start ending their struggles on the road Wednesday night as they face a Clippers team that has welcomed back leading scorer Chris Kaman.

After winning four straight, Chicago (18-21) opened a seven-game trip with perhaps the most winnable game during that stretch. The Bulls, though, shot 36.5 percent Monday in a 114-97 loss to a short-handed Golden State team which owns the league's third-worst record.

Chicago fell to 1-5 on the road against the Western Conference and 4-14 away from the United Center overall, averaging 92.4 points and shooting 42.7 percent.

Bulls leading scorer Derrick Rose had 19 points but shot 7 for 19 and had four turnovers.

"I know that I came out sluggish and I need to pick it up on the rest of this road trip," Rose told the Bulls' official Web site. "Now we must focus on the Los Angeles Clippers. We have to pick it up because we have a long road trip."

Rose will likely be rejoined in the backcourt by Kirk Hinrich, who sat out Monday due to the flu. Hinrich is averaging 12.1 points in 11 games as a starter.

Chicago can certainly use the help on a seven-game road swing that includes matchups with Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and New Orleans. The only opponent left during the trip that has a record currently below .500 is Los Angeles (18-22).

The Clippers, however, have won seven of eight at home, including victories over Boston, Portland and the Lakers. The only loss in that span was a one-point defeat to Cleveland on Saturday as Kaman sat out, but he returned Monday in a 106-95 win over New Jersey at Staples Center.

Kaman had 22 points and seven rebounds after missing the previous four games with a sore lower back.

"I just got tired of sitting out," Kaman said. "It was four games in five days, and I hadn't done any cardio or anything to get myself back in condition. The more games you miss, the harder it is to come back. So I made the decision to go. I worked with our muscle guy ... so I thought I would take the chance."

Since the start of the 2007-08 season, Los Angeles is 15-65 when Kaman sits out and 45-79 when he's in the lineup. The 7-footer is averaging 20.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

"Chris is one of our go-to guys, and he spaces the floor, so he's an important weapon for us in our offense," point guard Baron Davis said. "It was good to have him out there because we can always throw the ball down low to get a bucket."

Kaman will sometimes be matched up with Joakim Noah, who had four points against the Warriors after averaging 15.0 over his previous seven games. Noah, though, has a combined 31 rebounds over his last two games and is averaging 12.3 this season to rank second in the league, one spot ahead of the Clippers' Marcus Camby (11.6 rpg).

Noah helped Chicago outrebound Los Angeles 52-33 in a 95-75 win Jan. 28, the teams' last matchup. The Bulls have won three straight over the Clippers.