Clippers shake off loss, look to road swing
NOV 19, 2013 1:55p ET
On Monday night, the Clippers lost their first home game of the season. On Tuesday, they were on a flight to Minneapolis for a two-game, back-to-back road swing against teams looking for payback.
Their 106-102 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center was another reminder that the road to a championship is riddled with bumps, and resilient teams figure out how to navigate them.
"We've got to bounce back," forward Matt Barnes said. "The world's not stopping because we lose. We've got two tough teams coming up that are looking to beat us that we've already beaten once, so we've got a tough road trip ahead of us."
The Clippers face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, marking their second back-to-back road games in the season's first four weeks.
The Clippers logged wins over both teams last week at Staples Center, but repeating that double on the road will be far more difficult.
The T-Wolves almost forced last week's game into overtime, but Kevin Love missed an easy put-back at the buzzer. The Thunder had a 10-point lead in the second quarter last Wednesday before the Clippers out-scored them 30-16 in the third to win by eight.
"Tough back-to-back, but nobody's going to feel sorry for us," said guard Chris Paul, who is hoping to extend his NBA-tying record of 11 double-doubles to start a season. "Our schedule has been tough this season. Minnesota had that tip-back to go into overtime, so they felt like they let one get away. They'll be waiting for us, and so will Oklahoma City."
The Clippers lost both ends of a back-to-back in Orlando and Miami two weeks ago and are 2-3 on the road this season. But coach Doc Rivers said he won't be satisfied with a split this time, and neither should his players.
"I want to win all of them," he said. "I do. I'm greedy. I would never go on the road and say, ‘Hey, guys, let's split these games.' I think we should win them all, and I think that's how we have to start thinking."
Those are the kind of expectations Rivers is putting on his team this season, that it should believe it can beat two playoff-caliber teams and come home 2-0.
"You've got to have the mindset and mental toughness that you can go out and win two games," he said. "Winning's hard. It should be hard if you want to be what we want to be. Teams are going to attack you, and you have to be ready for it and expect it."
They found that out against the Grizzlies. Now, they'll have to rebound on the road.
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