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Clippers focus on improvement as they await return of Austin Rivers

None of the Clippers can foretell when they will completely jell.

But they all know it will be a process over the last 30 regular-season games.

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And each step of the way, the Clippers just want to improve.

"You want to know something? I can't really predict that," Avery Bradley said late Monday night at Staples Center. "The only thing I can say is that I feel like we're making progress. We're going to make mistakes. But the key to that is just going out there and playing basketball, playing hard. That's what you've got to do."

The Clippers won their first two games since acquiring Bradley and Tobias Harris from the Detroit Pistons.

They mounted a comeback and defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, an early sign that the new group can withstand adversity.

Still, Clippers coach Doc Rivers knows his team is a long way from finding its identity.

Rivers now just hopes the Clippers can keep getting better, and that they can become whole again when Austin Rivers returns from a right-ankle injury.

Even Doc Rivers wonders how long it'll take the Clippers to jell.

"I don't think anyone ever knows," Rivers said. "Sometimes you get off to great starts with a team and then you go through some struggles and it falls apart and then you got to (get it back together). It's just going to take time. Austin is still out, so we need one more guy back. Hopefully he can come back and get in the mix."

The Clippers have two more days to prepare for their next game.

They will practice Wednesday and Thursday, then leave later that day to start a four-game trip.

The first test is Friday night against the Pistons and Blake Griffin, whom the Clippers traded last week.

The Clippers then will play at Philadelphia on Saturday night before heading to Brooklyn and finishing the trip at Boston.

"I actually think it's good we're going on the road," Rivers said. "We'll find out a lot about ourselves. It gives us a chance to kind of grow together, bond together. And we have three days to prepare for it. So I think that's all good for us."

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Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner

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