The Clippers open their longest road trip of the season with back-to-back games at Atlanta and Memphis on Wednesday and Thursday followed by a Saturday night game at Cleveland. Then they make four more road stops next week at Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn and Washington before returning home Dec. 16.
The week behind
The team’s win streak reached four games with victories over the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings before it ended on Sunday with a home loss to the Indiana Pacers, leaving the Clippers with an 8-2 record at Staples Center.
Record and standings
At 12-6, the Clippers have a two-game lead over the Golden State Warriors in the Pacific Division and remain fourth in the Western Conference behind the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Blazers and Spurs are each 14-3.
The Clippers’ bench play has been impressive, despite the loss of forward Matt Barnes to retinal eye surgery. With reserves Darren Collision and Willie Green being pressed into service after injuries to Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, the bench has still produced. Jamal Crawford scored 31 points last Friday against Sacramento, and the reserves outscored Indiana’s bench 44-17 on Sunday.
Shooting guard J.J. Redick will be out for up to two months after he sustained a broken bone and torn ligament on the outside of his right hand. Redick was scheduled to visit a specialist today to see if surgery is required, but his absence changes the Clippers’ offensive look. His movement without the ball and accurate outside shooting will force coach Doc Rivers to make some adjustments, and his 15.8 points a game will be missed.
Player to watch
Usually, Chris Paul is a player to watch because of his ability to run the court and direct the Clippers’ offense. But after he suffered a strained right hamstring last week against the Knicks and sat out one game, his condition will carefully monitored. Paul played Sunday, but he also had an ice pack on his hamstring in the second half when he came out. His 34 minutes were a lot, although two days off may help his recovery.
Stat of the week
Center DeAndre Jordan came close to a triple-double Friday in Sacramento when he finished with 10 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 9 blocked shots. He’s currently second in the league in rebounding (12.8 per game) and fourth in blocked shots (2.2), making him an early candidate for defensive player of the year.
“D.J. had a Bill Russell night. It’s amazing what a defender can do for your team who just buys into it.” — Doc Rivers, speaking about Jordan’s near-triple-double.