Clippers glad to have a break

Clippers glad to have a break
Clippers teammates Chris Paul, left, and Blake Griffin talk on the bench during a win over the Phoenix Suns on March 10. Playing three games in four days has taken a physical toll on the Clippers. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Slowly, Blake Griffin eased his 6-foot-10 frame into a chair, with ice packs on both knees, and a slight moan in his voice because of a stiff back after the Clippers' loss at Denver on Monday night.

Across the locker room, Chris Paul sat with towels wrapped around his shoulders and legs.


Griffin, Paul and their teammates all were weary from having played three games in four days and they all were looking to the four-day break before they play another game Saturday against Detroit.

"It's crazy," Griffin said. "It seems like we play every other day and then we get four days off. It'd seem like they could spread it around. But we'll take it."

Next to Paul was Willie Green, who was taking his time putting on his clothes because of a right ankle injury he had suffered in the game.

Green started at shooting guard because Darren Collison was out for the second straight game because of a stomach virus.

Collison had been starting because Jamal Crawford was out with a strained left calf. And Crawford had been starting at guard because J.J. Redick was out with a bulging disk in his back.

"I haven't heard one guy complain about, 'We haven't had this guy. We don't have this guy, this guy,'" Griffin said. "It doesn't really matter. We honestly and genuinely believe that when we go out, we've got a chance to win no matter who's playing. That's a big mental step for us."

The Clippers have played nine games during the first 17 days this month, every one without a completely healthy team.

They didn't practice Tuesday and won't practice Wednesday.

But when they get back to work Thursday and Friday, the hope is that Crawford and perhaps even Redick can join the team.

"I'm looking forward to that time off for sure, especially with all the guys we have banged up," Griffin said. "We need to get guys healthy, getting DC back hopefully, Jamal and J.J. Four days is good. We need the rest."

Even Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was looking forward to time off, saying he was going to "work on my golf game" and that he was looking forward to "not seeing you guys" in the media.

Streak ended

The Clippers had their 11-game winning streak snapped against the Nuggets on Monday night.

"I thought the only thing that was good was we found a lot of ways to win with a lot of guys out," Rivers said. "You may have to have a playoff game like that. You never know. Overall, I was just happy with how tough we were mentally and that we were not going to use excuses and we just got to keep playing."


Twitter: @BA_Turner