The Los Angeles Clippers have shown they can win at home this season, but now embark on an epic road trip beginning Friday night in Atlanta against the playoff-bound Hawks. Atlanta is the first stop of an 11-game road trip for Blake Griffin and the Clippers, who lost to Atlanta in Los Angeles on January 2. In fact, Atlanta is one of only two teams who can claim victory over the Clippers at Staples Center in 2011, joining the Chicago Bulls, in a span of 11 games.
Calling this an 11-game road trip for the Clippers is a bit disingenuous, as it is broken up by the All-Star game, which happens to be at Staples Center. Still, the Clippers have eight games before the break. Those eight games, plus Thursday's travel day, come in a span of 14 days, covering a grand total of 6,510 miles. The Clippers are just 3-15 on the road this season, including losses in their last four contests away from Staples Center. Of the Clippers' remaining 34 games, a whopping 23 are on the road.
Griffin, who on Thursday was named an NBA All-Star reserve for the Western Conference, is coming off a 32-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist effort in a loss to the Bulls on Wednesday. Griffin has five 30-10-5 games this season, trailing only LeBron James (who has six) in the NBA. Griffin this season is averaging 19.7 points per game on the road, compared to 25.0 points per game at home. He is shooting 47.9% from the field wearing the red jerseys, compared to 54.0% in the home whites.
The Clippers on Thursday assigned guard Willie Warren, Griffin's college teammate at Oklahoma, to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League. Warren, who was selected by the Clippers in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft, appeared in only three games since the end of November, for a grand total of under five minutes of play.
Atlanta gets Marvin Williams back tonight, after serving a two-game suspension for getting into an altercation with the Knicks last weekend. The Hawks have two All-Stars, as both Al Horford and Joe Johnson were named Eastern Conference reserves on Thursday. Atlanta is 16-7 at Philips Arena this season, but only 4-5 at home against Western Conference teams.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Clips Nation.