Loss at Cleveland motivates Clippers to take on Dallas

Reporting from Dallas -- The Clippers’ only defeat on their current trip, at Cleveland on Wednesday, has resonated all the way to Dallas.

It has been five days and two games since that loss and the Clippers still can’t let it go.

That’s why the Clippers want to finish the six-game, 10-day trip with a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

These Clippers don’t like the taste of defeat. So the idea of completing the trip with a 5-1 record would be satisfying.


“We started this trip the right way and now we want to finish the right way,” Blake Griffin said. “In the middle, we kind of messed up. Obviously, our goal was to go 6-0 on this road trip. Unfortunately, we dropped that one, but we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”

Losing guard Chauncey Billups, who suffered a season-ending torn left Achilles’ tendon at Orlando on Feb. 6, seemed to take some steam out of the Clippers at Cleveland.

They didn’t play with energy and the effort was lacking against the Cavaliers.

“Everybody was so upset at the game at Cleveland because we know we gave that game away,” said Randy Foye, who has started the last three games in place of Billups. “So our main goal is to just be successful.”

Coach Vinny Del Negro has been harping on the Clippers to compete. He constantly reminds the players that if they don’t, they will limit their chances of winning.

That’s what happened at Cleveland, what upset Del Negro and what has stuck.

The Clippers competed against a very good Philadelphia 76ers team and won that game and totally outclassed an inept Charlotte Bobcats team.

Because the Clippers are playing against the defending NBA champion Mavericks, Del Negro feels confident his team will compete.

He gave the Clippers Sunday off after the team stayed overnight in Charlotte.

“You’re not always going to shoot the ball well,” Del Negro said. “But you can always play hard, you always can compete and you can always be a good teammate and be professional. I feel like we’ve done that the last couple of games after a disappointing performance against Cleveland. The guys bounced back, which I’m pleased with. Now obviously we’ve got another big challenge against Dallas.”