Caron Butler, shown battling Houston's Luis Scola for a rebound March… (George Bridges / MCT )
The Clippers could only feel relief Friday night as they prepared to come home after defeating San Antonio to finish up their six-game trip at .500.
And yet there wasn't much time for the Clippers to enjoy that win, not with the schedule they have coming up in the next two weeks.
They play 10 games in the next 14 days, starting with back-to-back games against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night and Boston Celtics on Monday.
"At this time of the year, now you start looking at the seeding," Caron Butler said after Friday night's victory. "Before the All-Star break, everybody just sort of played. But now you start looking at the seeding and be like, 'OK, we need to seriously win some games.' We need to get some separation from people. Obviously home court is important. So let's keep this rhythm, let's keep this good basketball going."
The Clippers (23-15) have three sets of back-to-back games during this two-week stretch and one set of back-to-back-to-back games.
They play seven of the 10 games at home, where the Clippers are 12-5.
"The key to all this is win the games you're supposed to win and steal a few," Butler said. "We've had our fair share of close calls and we've had a whole bunch of games that went to the buzzer and the ball didn't bounce our way. But this is a great way to end a trip. This is a tremendous confidence booster for us and it gives us some momentum going back home. We've got a nice homestand."
The Clippers were upset about games they felt they let get away.
They lost by one point at Minnesota and New Jersey, two teams the Clippers thought they should have beaten.
"In our minds, we gave away a couple of games," Blake Griffin said. "We should have been better than that. So we don't really look at it like, 'It's great that we're 3-3.' We really felt like we could have done better. We should have done better. But to be 2-3 coming into [San Antonio] and coming out 3-3 is a positive."
Jordan still developing
It increasingly has become apparent that Clippers center DeAndre Jordan's low-post game remains a work in progress.
Jordan has the size (6-11), strength (250 pounds) and athleticism.
It's just that he's not quite skilled enough yet, something Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Jordan may never be taken as a serious threat inside.
"I don't know if that's going to be DeAndre for a long time, or maybe ever," Del Negro said. "I don't know. But that wasn't the reason we wanted DeAndre back."
But there is so much more that Jordan can do to be an effective player.
Del Negro said they want Jordan to control the paint, defend, rebound, alter shots and dunk when gets a lob pass. Jordan is averaging 7.4 points and 8.8 rebounds.
"When D.J. is active and plays with a lot of energy, his athleticism shows and he has a huge impact on the game on both ends," Del Negro said. "And that's what we need from him, more of a consistent effort to know what we're going to get night in and night out there. And that's just a process that young players go through and he's going through it."