Updated: February 14, 2012, 3:36 PM ET

1. Different Clippers Return From Grammy Trip

By D.J. Foster
TrueHoop Network

For many years, the Los Angeles Clippers tortured their loyal fan base by showing a general indifference to winning. As frustrating as that can be, the team at least had the common decency to quit on the season while they were away from Los Angeles. That's what the Grammy trip used to represent for the Clippers -- a few weeks circled on the calendar in February when you could count on things completely falling apart.

Much has been made of the Clippers' culture change, but the timing of Chauncey Billups' season-ending injury seemed to temporarily shock everyone back into yesteryear. Here was the typical crippling injury, the familiar murmurings of a curse, and then the predictable gut-wrenching loss to a Cleveland team without its best player. It all felt like another date on the calendar in February -- Groundhog's Day.

After initially setting out to prove they could win games on the road, the Clippers' objective became increasingly more difficult. With all eyes on them waiting for the usual collapse, they had to show they could bounce back from a crushing blow and a bad loss by adjusting on the fly.

Even if it was never pretty, they did just that in a slugfest win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. The Clippers then followed that win up by sending a memo to the rest of the league by blowing out the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday: This isn't who we are anymore.

Defeating the defending champs in the last matchup of a six-game road trip is far from easy, but the Clippers were up to the task against the Dallas Mavericks. They suffered through some sloppy, fatigue-ridden basketball at times, but the Clippers hung around long enough for a chance to win it late in the game. Caron Butler's potential game-winning 3-pointer may have rimmed out in L.A.'s 96-92 loss Monday night, but the Clippers proved something by pushing the Mavericks to the limit and finishing 4-2 away from the friendly confines of Staples Center.

For the first time in a long time, the Clippers will return home from their lengthy road trip and live to fight another day.

D.J. Foster covers the Clippers for ClipperBlog, part of the TrueHoop Network.

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