Every loss brings the Clippers an even bigger challenge.
And there have been plenty of losses this season, enough to test whatever positive approach the Clippers try.
The Clippers are 8-15, a .348 winning percentage that is hard to fathom considering they started the season with so much promise at 4-0.
“It’s difficult, but it’s a challenge I’m accepting and we’re embracing,” DeAndre Jordan said. “It sucks, man. You never want to get off to a start like this, especially in the Western Conference with it being so stacked.
“But it definitely gives us an opportunity to come together and learn how to play with each other and to give the young guys experience that I don’t know if they would have had if we would have had a full roster. But I feel like this is making our team stronger.”
The Clippers have lost four straight games since Blake Griffin suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee that is expected to sideline their best player until late January.
“It’s really difficult,” said Rivers, his voice low. “It’s frustrating. Nobody likes to lose. We’re losing a lot of games.
“It’s frustrating to lose games, point blank, period, man. Got to understand the situation we’re in right now. This is what we’ve got, you know what I mean? We just have to continue to build.”
Milos Teodosic, who has been out since getting hurt in the second game of the season with a plantar fascia injury to his left foot, is due back soon.
But point guard Patrick Beverley is out for the season afterright knee surgery.
“So if we ever do get our team completely healthy, we’ll be a stronger ballclub,” Jordan said. “But we’ve got to win the games that we’re supposed to win.”
The return on Danilo Gallinari on Wednesday night after he missed 13 games with a strained left glute was at least one positive step.
“He didn’t have his legs yet,” Rivers said. “I don’t know how good he’ll be next game. It’s going to take him a couple of games. But having that threat back….At the end of the day, me and Lou [Williams] have to continue to carry the torch. DJ has to continue to carry the torch. Having Gallo back will be huge and then Milos comes back in the next couple of games.
“We’ll be right back. We’ve got to continue to stay positive and understand that there are 50-something games left and we’re five games [actually four] out of the playoffs with [Wednesday night’s] loss. We’ve just got to continue to build.”