Los Angeles Clippers face 8 game road test

Apr. 25, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 99-93. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have embarked on their annual “Grammy Trip,” playing eight games away from Staples Center over the next two weeks. Their first contest is tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 5pm pst. The Clippers will then travel to Toronto for a game against the Raptors on Friday, with subsequent games against the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers. only two of their eight opponents currently hold winning records. In the case of Boston, the game will be played with a tinge of sadness due to the loss of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who suffered a torn ACL and will be gone for the remainder of the season. Minnesota, likewise, has been absolutely devastated by injuries and will be playing without Kevin Love (who is also the subject of numerous trade rumors) for at least two more months.

Chris Paul, who has sat out the past four contests – and seven of the last eight – looks to be returning soon, perhaps as early as tonight or Friday against Toronto. Chauncey Billups has been participating in full contact practices and also should be back at some point during this road stretch.

Without Paul or Billups available, Eric Bledsoe has filled in admirably in their absence at starting point guard, guiding the team to a 6-4 record over their last ten games. However, once Bledsoe sits, it’s been a struggle as Coach Vinnie Del Negro has had to assign ball handling duties to Jamal Crawford and a variety of creative options (Grant Hill, Blake Griffin, and Willie Green have all taken turns bringing the ball up court). Blake Griffin has been more vocal and aggressive of late to assume the leadership vacuum, averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds over his last four games.

Topics: Blake Griffin, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Clippers, Matt Barnes, NBA, Vinny Del Negro

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