It takes menatl toughness to win on the road.
And the Clippers are developing that.
Even without Chauncey Billups, who was lost to an a left injury Achilles’ tendon injury, the Clippers won their fourth straight road game in a 107-102 win over the Orlando Magic in overtime.
The team that won nine road games all last season is now showing they can win tough games in difficult venues – a definite sign of a serious contender.
Caron Butler hit a huge three-pointer in overtime for the Clippers, who trailed by 15 points at one point and four in over time only to finish on an 11-2 run to close the game out,
Butler stared the game 1 for 7 from the field but was there at the end to help win it for the Clippers.
“My teammates kept believing in me,” said Billups, whop also had an important offensive rebound in OT.
The Clippers are back in action Wednesday at Cleveland.
The Clippers filled a glaring need in the frontcourt Friday by agreeing to a contract with veteran free agent power forward Kenyon Martin. The deal is pending Martin passing a physical.
Martin had been playing with the Xinjiang Tigers in China but was allowed out of a season-long contract with the club when FIBA, which oversees international basketball, stepped in on his behalf.
In doing so the 6-9 forward was free to sign with a team in the NBA and the Clippers, who need help behind center DeAndre Jordan and power forward Blake Griffin, immediately showed interest.
Martin has career averages of 13.5 points and 7.2 rbounds over 11 seasons with the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets and averaged just over 8 points and 6 rebounds last year with the Nuggets.
Martin chose the Clippers over the Miami Heat, Lakers and Atlanta Hawks, among others showing interest, and it will be interesting to see how much his past relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups helped in swaying him to Los Angeles.
The schedule has been relatively kind to the Clippers to start the season.
It is about to become unkind.
Beginning Sunday the Clippers will play 10 games in 16 days including three back-to-backs and one stretch in which they play on three consecutive nights.
Oh, and did I mention eight of those ten games are on the road?
If anyone is wondering why the Clippers played it so safe with Chris Paul, the upcoming schedule is why.
Paul could have come back earlier than he did, but the Clippers understood the importance of buying some time with him knowing the schedule was about to go from tough to ridiculously tough.