Maybe the Clippers are the ones who know to “trust the process,” the catch-phrase used by the rapidly improving Philadelphia 76ers.
How else are they able to explain a season-high six-game winning streak while continuing to deal with injuries nonstop?
“I keep saying this over and over. The trust has been really high,” Blake Griffin said before the Clippers practiced Friday morning. “Guys have been pretty resilient when we get down, five, 10 [points], whatever it is, and we just kind of keep coming.”
Still, it’s hard to fathom this team being able to maintain that trust when it has had so many players in and out of the lineup.
The Clippers (23-21) have had 21 different starting lineups, the most in the NBA this season. They’ve had nine players miss a combined 131 games.
Center DeAndre Jordan, the ironman of the group, will miss his fourth consecutive game Saturday night at Utah because of a sprained left ankle.
Griffin said the team has been “forced” to be resilient — it’s had no other choice.
“We know that we’re not going to win games individually,” he said. “Lou [Williams] has had huge games for us and has been really good and helped us win a lot of games. But it’s been a complete team effort. I think everybody realizes that.”
Even when the Clippers hit bottom during a nine-game losing streak, Coach Doc Rivers always kept the faith. And so did his team. He told them and anyone else who listened that “we’re playing really well” despite the mounting losses.
So when the Clippers got down by 12 against Denver on Wednesday and won, or when they got down by 15 last month in Houston and won, it showed that L.A. developed some resolve.
“Those little things we keep reiterating to our guys is that you can still win games no matter what the score is, [or] how far you’re down,” Rivers said, adding about the Denver game, “We were down  the other night and we just keep coming.
“So, I think that’s been the difference … we don’t get down when we get down.”
Already short-handed because of injuries, the Clippers still practiced Friday despite losing even more bodies.
Rookie guard Jawun Evans wasn’t available because of what Rivers termed a “tummy ache,” but he is expected to play Saturday night. Rookie Tyrone Wallace wasn’t able to practice because he had been sent to the development league team, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, but he will join the Clippers on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
The Clippers have 10 healthy players, but were down to just eight after the two rookies became unavailable.
“It’s still good for us,” Rivers said. “We’re going to do a lot of film work and clean up some stuff. So it’s still nice to have a day off and then a practice. It’ll help us. It’s not a strenuous practice at all.”
When: 6 p.m., Saturday
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Update: Utah is 28th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 101 points a game. But the Jazz are sixth in points allowed, giving up just 101.9 a game.