Clippers' short trip will be a tough one

MINNEAPOLIS — The back-to-back games the Clippers will play at Minnesota on Wednesday and at Oklahoma City on Thursday were going to be competitive anyway, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said.

But the intensity figures to be a notch higher, he said, because his team beat the Timberwolves and Thunder last week in Los Angeles. In addition, all three clubs hope to be the top team in the competitive Western Conference.

"Minnesota wants to be a contender. Oklahoma City wants to be one. We want to be one," Rivers said. "But when you play a team one week and again the next week at their place, they are going to come after you."

Making it even more difficult for the Clippers is facing the Timberwolves and Thunder on consecutive nights.

"You've got to have the mind-set and the mental toughness that you can go out and win two games," Rivers said. "Winning is hard. It should be hard. If you want to be what we want to be, teams are going to attack you and you have to be ready for it."

The Clippers beat the Timberwolves by two points Nov. 11, escaping after Kevin Love missed a tip-in at the buzzer.

"Minnesota had that tip-back to go into overtime," Chris Paul said. "So they feel like they let one get away. They are going to be waiting for us. So is Oklahoma City."

The Clippers beat the Thunder by eight points last Wednesday, roaring back from a nine-point deficit after halftime.

The Thunder had to play that second half without power forward Serge Ibaka, who was ejected for fighting along with Clippers forward Matt Barnes. The Thunder also didn't have starting center Kendrick Perkins, who was attending his grandfather's funeral.

Ibaka and Perkins are expected to play Thursday against the Clippers.

"It's tough back-to-back games," Paul said. "But ain't nobody going to feel sorry for us."

The Clippers arrived in Minneapolis, though, before the Timberwolves, who played Tuesday night at Washington.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City will have been off for two days before facing the Clippers.

Still, Rivers said he's not thinking about getting a split on this short trip.

"I want to win all of them," Rivers said. "I do. I'm greedy. I never go on the road and say, 'Guys, let's split these games.' Really. I think we should win them all. And I think that's how we have to start thinking."

The Clippers are 2-3 on the road this season.

Allen suspended

Memphis guard Tony Allen was suspended for one game by the NBA for kicking Paul in the face during Monday night's game. Allen was given a flagrant two foul and ejected from the game.

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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