After Thursday's 116-112 overtime loss to Portland, the Clippers head back to Los Angeles winless on a holiday swing that showed them how close -- and also how far they are -- from being a contending team in the Western Conference this season.
How it happened: The Blazers controlled this game for the most part until the Clippers forced it into overtime with a run in the fourth quarter. The Blazers led by as many as 12 after the Clippers briefly led by four early in the first quarter. But the Clippers pushed the game into extra play with a strong finish from Chris Paul. In the end, however, it wasn't enough for the second night in a row.
What it means: The Clippers have lost two straight to two teams they might face in the playoffs. A playoff series against either would be entertaining if these two games were any indication, but the Clippers also have some work to do if they're going to get past either team in the postseason.
Hits: Paul and Blake Griffin played like All-Star starters hours after the NBA announced they were on pace to start their third straight All-Star Game together as teammates. Griffin had 35 points and 11 rebounds, and Paul had 34 points and 16 assists. Paul put the Clippers on his back at the end of regulation with one big shot after another but missed the potential winner, and the Clippers couldn't finish the job in overtime.
Misses: It was a rough night for Jared Dudley, who was 0-for-3 from the field with zero points and was pulled from the game with almost nine minutes left in the third quarter and didn’t return until DeAndre Jordan fouled out in overtime. Rivers leaned on Matt Barnes, Darren Collison and Ryan Hollins off the bench as Dudley was reduced to cheerleader for most of the second half.
Stat of the game: After struggling from the outside against the Warriors, the Clippers hit 40 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
Up next: The Clippers head home for a week after their final road game of 2013. Their next game is Saturday against the Utah Jazz, who are 8-23 and will be coming to Los Angeles on the second night of a back-to-back after playing the Los Angeles Lakers in Utah.