Clippers get a relative break in schedule over next seven games

Clippers get a relative break in schedule over next seven games
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, right, stands next to his players during a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

After what has been an intense stretch, the Clippers get a relative reprieve in their schedule.

Five of their next seven opponents have losing records, and the two teams with winning records have worse records than the Clippers.

The Clippers, who have lost two games in a row, are tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 42-25.

Their next seven opponents are the Charlotte Hornets (29-35), the Sacramento Kings (22-43), the Washington Wizards (38-28), the New Orleans Pelicans (36-30), the New York Knicks (13-53), the Philadelphia 76ers (15-51) and the Boston Celtics (29-36).

The easing of their schedule comes at a good time for the Clippers, who are involved in a very tight Western Conference race with just 15 games left in the regular season.

The Clippers are tied for fifth place with the San Antonio Spurs, and are only 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Rockets, 3 1/2 games behind the third-place Portland Trail Blazers, and 4 1/2 games behind the second-place Memphis Grizzlies.

The team is also going through an adjustment period after having just returned Blake Griffin on Sunday. The superstar power forward was sidelined for 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery Feb. 9. After Sunday's game, Griffin said his tricep is only at 60% and he's struggling with his shot.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said it's going to take Griffin some time to get his rhythm back, and he's going to remain focused on his team over this upcoming stretch.

"Winning a single NBA game is hard," Rivers said. "I don't know if people really get that. Doesn't matter who you play. We just have to get our stuff right, that's why I don't look that far ahead and kind of focus on us."