Clippers Hope Road Trip Can Help Team Click

As head coach Doc Rivers pointed out, this upcoming road trip can either be immeasurably beneficial or it can dig a greater hole.

ORLANDO – The Clippers hope a road trip can do exactly what Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said it’s capable of doing.

A 5-4 record isn’t what the Clippers had envisioned with seven of their first nine games at home and eight of nine games at STAPLES Center to start the year. They now embark on their first extended road trip of the season for seven games.

Hornacek said before playing the Clippers on Saturday that sometimes all it takes is a game or a road trip to kick start a team.

“All of a sudden, you’re struggling a little bit, you go on the road; now all the guys are there together for a week, there’s no distractions from home, that kind of stuff,” Hornacek said. “You’re always looking for when that’s going to click in if you’re a team that maybe isn’t clicking on all cylinders.”

That would define the Clippers, who’ve taken one step forward and one step backward from game to game to start the year. They’re scoring 101.6 points per game but are allowing 102.7. The Clippers are 4-4 in their last eight games, and a win has been followed by a loss every time through that stretch.

They outscored Hornacek’s Suns by 22 points in the third quarter of what seemed at the time like a defining win Saturday, finally looking like themselves throughout the second half. As Hornacek said, sometimes all it takes is a game to kick start a squad.

That wasn’t the case for the Clippers, though, who followed that up by getting outscored by 17 points in the third quarter against a Bulls team without Derrick Rose or Pau Gasol two days later.

As head coach Doc Rivers pointed out, this upcoming road trip can either be immeasurably beneficial or it can dig a greater hole.

“I’ll tell you in seven games,” Rivers said. “Really, I do like going on the road. I think it is an opportunity to find yourself. You can also lose yourself on the road. So we’ll see.”

The Clippers’ players seem to believe that the seven-game road trip, beginning Wednesday night against the Magic, comes at a good time; even though Chris Paul added that he felt like he was on the road Monday with a faithful Bulls contingency audibly making its presence felt at STAPLES Center.

“We’re going on the road seven games, and you’ve really got to be together when you go on the road,” Paul said. “It’s going to be a big test for us.”

Guard Jamal Crawford looks forward to what the road can bring.

“I do; I really do,” Crawford said. “It’s a chance to bond some more and a chance to just figure it out and get away and lean on each other.”

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