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Clippers start longest trip of season without J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes

The seven-game trip over 11 days begins in Atlanta on Wednesday. Redick is out six to eight weeks after breaking, and tearing ligaments in, his shooting hand; Barnes is recovering from eye surgery.

December 02, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Chris Paul throws a pass behind Indiana's David West during the Clippers' 105-100 loss to the Pacers on Sunday.
Chris Paul throws a pass behind Indiana's David West during the Clippers'… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

The Clippers are embarking on their longest trip of the season, a seven-game, 11-day excursion that will test them because of the grind and the absence of one starter and a key reserve.

Only three of the teams the Clippers will face had at least a .500 record going into Monday night's games. The Clippers play their first game on this trip in Atlanta on Wednesday night.

But the Clippers won't have starting guard J.J. Redick, who will be out six to eight weeks after breaking, and tearing ligaments in, his right, shooting hand. Redick won't need surgery, the team said.

Backup small forward Matt Barnes also will be sidelined at least another week while recovering from surgery on his left retina.

"It's a big trip," Coach Doc Rivers said after Sunday's loss to Indiana. "I don't ever look at a trip in its whole. I try to look at the single game. Our first game is against Atlanta. I can tell you that's the only place my focus is right now."

The Clippers next play Memphis (8-8) on Thursday night, then Cleveland (5-12) on Saturday.

Next week, the Clippers play at Philadelphia (6-12) on Monday, then face back-to-backs starting in Boston (5-12) Dec. 11, followed by Brooklyn (5-12) on Dec. 12. The Clippers finish at Washington (8-9) on Dec. 14.

The Clippers departed Monday so they could practice in Atlanta on Tuesday and adjust to the time change.

Last month, the Clippers traveled to Orlando to start a three-game trip. Rivers scheduled a 12:30 p.m. shoot-around in Orlando, but his players' bodies were still on Pacific time, Rivers said.

The Clippers lost that game to the Magic.

Rivers said he was still trying to figure out the West Coast-to-East Coast traveling routine after coaching 14 years in the Eastern Conference with Orlando and Boston.

"We can learn about ourselves, like how we approach each game and not thinking about the next one," Chris Paul said about the trip. "It's always thinking about the first one. I always say you can't win them all without winning the first one."

Rivers' return to Boston

When the Clippers play at Boston, Rivers acknowledged it will be a "special" moment.

Rivers coached Boston for nine years, during which time the Celtics won an NBA title in 2008 and returned to the Finals in 2010.

"I get to see a lot of people that I won with and a lot of friends. I made a ton of friends living there. So that will be a special night," Rivers said. "But once the game starts, it's a game. It's a competition again. That's how I tick. But before that, it'll be neat for me."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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