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Clippers have difficult stops on four-city trip

Starting Monday, L.A. visits San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn and Atlanta over seven days, all teams that have at least a .500 record.

November 18, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers guard Jamal Crawford looks to drive against Bulls guard Richard Hamilton.
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford looks to drive against Bulls guard Richard… (Frederic J. Brown / AFP /…)

Every team the Clippers will face on a four-team, seven-day trip has at least a .500 record.

And that has the potential to be a big challenge even for the 7-2 Clippers.

But this is a confident bunch of Clippers who are unwilling to concede anything.

"We want to win all of them," Jamal Crawford said. "That's our goal, is to win every game on this trip. We'll deal with the rest after that."

The trip begins with a game in San Antonio on Monday night and continues to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, Brooklyn on Friday night and Atlanta on Saturday night.

San Antonio is 8-2, 4-1 at home.

The Clippers gave the Spurs one of their losses this season and L.A. won a regular-season game in San Antonio last season.

"It's a big road trip for us," Chris Paul said. "It starts in San Antonio, obviously a tough place to play. But I think we're as ready as we could be. We took care of home, did what we were supposed to do, other than those two other games. But we couldn't ask for more out of ourselves."

Those two other games Paul referred to are something the Clippers can't seem to let go of.

They lost at home to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, two teams that didn't make the playoffs last season and aren't expected to be in the postseason this season, either.

The Clippers played seven of their first nine games at home, and one of the "road" games was at Staples Center against the Lakers.

"We'll go out and get ready for San Antonio," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They are one of the top teams and they are very difficult to play there especially, so we have to be ready to play.

"Oklahoma City is one of the top teams. It's just a good test for us right now. We've been home long, had a long little homestand. This is kind of our first road trip test and a difficult one."

Del Negro still expects improvement

So what if the Clippers are off to a fantastic start to the season and they are one of the better teams in the NBA?

Del Negro doesn't want his players to be satisfied.

The Clippers may be second in the NBA in scoring (102.56 points per game), first in field-goal percentage (49.5%) and seventh in assists (23.0), but Del Negro sees more that they can improve upon.

"There are things that coaches see when they watch the film that show there is a lot of work to be done," Del Negro said.

He talked about rotating better on defense and to stop fouling so much, seeing as how they commit the fourth-most fouls (24.0) in the league.

His team is a poor rebounding team, averaging only 39.33, the sixth-worst in the NBA.

"It's just a lot of things," Del Negro said. "But we're getting there. And the guys know that and they are keeping a good mindset."

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