Griffin hopes Clippers find 'a little bit of an identity' on long road trip

BY foxsports • November 18, 2014

A long, painstaking, salty roadtrip might not be such a bad thing for the Los Angeles Clippers.

On Wednesday, the Clippers begin a monster trip that includes seven games in 12 days, spanning the following NBA cities: Orlando, Miami, Memphis, Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and Utah. Adding to the grind, the Clippers play three back-to-backs and will spend the Thanksgiving holiday somewhere between Detroit and Houston.

When the Clippers next play at Staples Center, the calendar will have turned to December.

The only road games the Clippers have played thus far: a nail-biting win against the Lakers, and the debacle at Golden State that had Doc Rivers questioning his team's effort.

The Clippers seem to be embracing this roadtrip.

"I think it will be good for us," Blake Griffin said. "We can spend that time and get that first big, big trip under our belts. I think we'll learn a lot about our team, who we are and hopefully find a little bit of an identity and moving toward that."

Asked if a roadtrip can bond a team, Rivers said: "I'll tell you in seven games. No, really. I do like going on the road. It is an opportunity to find yourself. You can also lose yourself on the road, so we'll see."

The Clippers (5-4) have had their ups and downs and Staples Center, ending the homestand on a disappointing note. They're still searching for themselves and the team they were a year ago.

"We've got to believe," Chris Paul said. "We go out there, play and we compete. We have to be better. It's no secret. I didn't even realize that we started 4-3 last year. Doc told us that last game. We have got to find it. We have to play the right way. Hopefully, this roadtrip will help us. We're going to try to play better, I'll tell you that much."

On Monday, the Clippers squandered a 14-point second quarter lead and lost to Chicago 105-89. The scene that unfolded on their home court wasn't pretty, either.

With owner Steve Ballmer watching from courtside, Chicago fans took over Staples Center with "Let's Go Bulls!" chants. Paul said afterward it was almost like a road game.

"We're going on the road, seven games. You've really got to be together when you go on the road. It's going to be a big test for us, all these games," Paul said.

Jamal Crawford believes a roadtrip of this nature can serve as a good bonding experience.

"It definitely can because it's just you guys," Crawford said. "You can find time to go to dinner and movies and things you can't necessarily have time to do in L.A."

The Clippers have spent considerable time trying to find answers to what has hampered their struggling offense and a defensive effort that is sometimes lacking, especially in the third quarter of the loss to Chicago. The Clippers were outscored 31-14 and allowed the Bulls to shoot 57 percent from the field.

Winning sure cures much that's wrong with teams, and if the Clippers can string some wins together on the road, that would go a long way in fixing problems, like rebounding and a stagnant offense.

"... Winning them all would be the best improvement for us. Then we can look at all the stuff we're not doing later," Rivers said. "That would be great. It's just early, so I'm not looking at one thing. I don't have a list, like in a row of things that we have to play ... overall it's better team play."

Better team play is on this trip's bucket list along with a little team bonding, a holiday, cold weather and such.

"... I think it will be good to get away and bond," J.J. Redick said. "There is nothing like winning games on the road. That brings teams together. If we were able to string some wins together on this roadtrip, it will be really good for us."