Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, right, and power forward Blake Griffin… (Associated Press )
The Clippers knew at some point the schedule would catch up to them, that it would test them.
That moment came Thursday night when the Clippers played their Pacific Division rivals and personal nemeses, the Golden State Warriors, on the back end of a back-to-back.
It didn't come as a surprise to Clippers Coach Doc Rivers that his team played mostly on empty.
The Clippers had returned home early Tuesday morning from a seven-game, 11-day trip to the East Coast and played the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers were then sent back on the road to Oakland to play their ninth game in 14 days.
"There are definitely scheduled losses," Rivers said after Thursday night's game. "There's no doubt about that. But you can still win some of them. Listen, when I saw the schedule and you saw that game [at Golden State], I was like, 'Holy goodness! That's a hard game.' But still, give them credit. I don't want to take anything away from Golden State."
The Clippers never sustained anything in that game.
They scored a season-low 11 points in the third quarter. They made a franchise-low one field goal out of 15 attempts (6.7%) in that quarter.
The Clippers took Friday off but play the Utah Jazz on Saturday night at Staples Center.
"It won't be easy," Jamal Crawford said. "But we'll get home, get some rest, regroup and get back on our horse. Keep going. Keep going."
The Clippers then leave Sunday for a game at Denver on Monday night.
The Clippers return for a four-game homestand against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Toronto Raptors on Friday, Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 9 and Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 12.
"I don't think this whole thing stops until after the Denver game," Rivers said. "We've got two games off or something. But it is what it is. At the end of the day, everybody goes through something like this at some point."
Clippers continue to impress
The Clippers, 11-3 since Chris Paul went down Jan. 3 at Dallas with of a separated right shoulder, have impressed many with their recent play.
They lead the Pacific Division and have the fourth-best record (33-16) in the tough Western Conference.
Reggie Miller, TNT's NBA analyst who watched the Clippers play at Golden State on Thursday night, liked what he saw from Los Angeles despite the loss.
"I think their schedule sets them up well," Miller said during the game. "It wouldn't shock me at all if they end up with the 2 seed in the West behind Oklahoma City."