Lines that no one ever thought writing or uttering: The Los Angeles Clippers have the best record in the NBA, after a perfect December, and a winning streak that has now extended to 17 games as the they show again and again that they are much more than just superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Griffin actually had one of his worst games this season. It’s never easy going up against the very big Jazz frontline. Griffin finished with only 7 points, taking only five shots in the entire game. He was double teamed over and over again, but didn’t try to force anything and simply kept the ball moving. Finishing with 3 assists is one thing, but he had only two turnovers, which in previous cases of such a defensive scheme would have been more costly to the Clippers.
Caron Butler was the surprise package this time. He finished with 29 points in only 25 minutes. The small forward was a perfect 6-6 from beyond the arc and 10-14 from the field. DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points and Jamal Crawford, as always, was the main man off the bench, scoring 19. The one most pleased with the contribution from the bench, although he didn’t get to sit this fourth quarter, was Chris Paul.
I am amazed because I haven’t done it since I’ve been in the league. It shows our depth. Our bench stepped up amazing. On any given night it can be another guy. Paul finished with 19 points, 9 assists and 5 steals. His ability, along with the others, has meant that the Clippers have won 17 consecutive games and went 16-0 in the month of December. This is only the third time in NBA history that a team has gone undefeated for an entire month – The San Antonio Spurs and the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers. Vinny Del Negro played on that Spurs team 16 years ago.
We keep hearing the same thing from the Clippers, the same thing from their opponents. From the winning side, it’s about how these wins mean nothing if the playoffs end too soon. They’re thinking about the highest and the furthest. A conference final, an NBA final, an NBA title. When they’re beating everybody up, why not?
The other teams? About how you can’t make mistakes against the Clippers, especially at home. How you have to play intense and correct for 48 minutes in order to beat them. Not many believed to hear these words about any version, past present and future, of this organization, usually linked to losing ,failure and bad luck.
Now? Fun and winning. The Clippers make basketball look fun when they run, but their best is when they clamp down on defense to create those open court highlight film plays. A team that knows how to grind out wins, and is now on the longest winning streak since the Boston Celtics had 19 in a row four years ago.
he Clippers haven’t lost since Nov. 26 at home against New Orleans. Since then, They’ve allowed teams to score over 100 points only three times while going above it 13 times, and winning by an average margin of 15.2 points. This isn’t just a team that got hot by accident and are winning with a lot of luck. The Clippers are running through and bulldozing almost everything that stands in their way.