Clipperblog doesn't like getting caught up in the arbitrary decimalization of time, and feels that statements like, "Boy, won't he be glad when it's time to flip that calendar page because this has been a brutal month for him," to be inane, even in sports.  But it's somewhat fitting that the Clippers set out for The East just hours after the New Year because, let's face it, the 2006 portion of the '06-'07 season was a major disappointment.  Fresh starts aside, the Clippers have a chance --- just as the Washington Wizards did in early December ---- to put their wretched start on the road behind them and start adding away victories.  If the Clippers can go 4-2 on this road trip, a six-game swing in which they'll face only one opponent two opponents with a winning record[s], they'll return to Staples .500 after 18 home games and 18 away games.  After that, they play seven out of nine at home, with a road game each against Golden State and Seattle.

Studying the pixel blocks on the fridge magnet while chugging 1% milk from the carton this morning, Clipperblog began to wonder again why it's such a bitch for NBA teams to win on the road.  Of the three major sports, it's indisputable that the NBA away game is the most difficult road win.  Yet, unlike baseball and football, where players are exposed to climatic conditions, NBA games are played in a temperature regulated arena, in bubbles that are basically as pressurized as Gilbert Arenas' casa.  Whereas baseball features weirdly asymmetrical diamonds on varying surfaces, with nooks and crannies inscrutable to visiting opponents, the 94' x 50'  hardwood is replicated the world over.  While deafening NFL crowds wreck havoc for opposing quarterbacks, most regular-season NBA crowds are relatively docile while the clock is running, particularly during a game's first 42 minutes.  So what is it?  The four cities in five nights racket?  A self-fulfilling prophecy so entrenched in the baller's consciousness as to be insurmountable?  Crappy room service and short beds with scratchy linens?  Do strange buildings really present the optical mindfuck some players claim? 

That's the thing with travel: No matter how hard you try to measure your experience against what's familiar, there's always some ineffable difference between a foreign place and home that you just can't quite put your finger on.  William Gibson calls it "mirror-world," the sense that two places may have all the same properties, that these parallel realities are relatable...but ultimately dissonant.  Can the Clippers transport the hum and efficiency of the past week to Florida?  To an utterly vacant Phillips Arena?  To the Center for Gilbertological Studies?  That's the test.