Twelve wins. And despite the close score — twelve point victories are “close” for the Clippers these days! — Los Angeles was largely in control of this franchise streak setting game. To the celebratory last call!
Recap | Box score
No Daily Dime tonight. In lieu of that, please enjoy this Eric Bledsoe block on Thomas Robinson:
12 wins a row
This is the Clippers longest winning streak in franchise history. Not in Los Angeles. Not since being named the Clippers. Not from the Jack Ramsey Buffalo days. History. We might be witnessing the best Clippers team. Ever.
Tweet of the Game
Chris Paul trying to catch lobs. This is insane
— Curtis Harris (@ProHoopsHistory) December 22, 2012
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
In an effort to win a game, any game, Fred puts a garbage can on his head.
It genuinely looked like Chris Paul threw the ball so high that Griffin was going to dunk it (you can see Blake start to gather). And then Mini-LeBron just plucked it out of the sky and sent it home. GO TO YOUR HOME.
Check Your Messages
It was all Chris Paul
Forget the 24 points, the 13 assists, the five three-pointers made and five more steals. That beautiful line added flare, but it wasn’t the sole reason for the Clippers’ victory. Tonight was all about pace. And Chris Paul controlled it.
Once the Clippers’ seemingly insurmountable lead dwindled down to seven, there should have been some panic. At least, there should have been some urgency, right? The Clips were on the verge of letting go of a monstrous lead to a Sacramento Kings’ team that didn’t have much business being in the game.
But then Chris Paul reminded all of us that he is Chris Paul. And Chris Paul does Chris Paul things.
Down a touchdown, Paul got a wide open look from three. He took one dribble and swished it in, lengthening that Clippers’ lead back to double digits. And that’s where the game ended: with a double-digit Clipper lead.
Tonight’s win was the Chris Paul rope-a-dope, the game when Paul says, “Sorry, you might think you have a shot, but you do realize who you’re dealing with, right?”
It’s the game that makes Chris Paul who he is.
So in a time when the Clippers almost seemed to let a game slip away, a game in which they had a plus-21 rebounding margin, Paul reminded us all to sit back and relax when leads start to slip. He’ll take care of it all.
– Fred Katz
Looking Back, Moving Forward
During the first half, the Clippers played in the manner we had come to expect — creativity on the offensive end and energy on the defensive end. However, the team that had previously won 11 games straight was nowhere to be found in the second half. A key stat for judging whether this Clippers team is coherently playing to its strengths (combining that creativity and energy) is fast break points. The Clippers had 12 such points in the first half and only 4 in the second half (both Bledsoe dunks).
The halfcourt offense looked particularly disorganized, devolving into isolations at the end of the shot clock. Most of these plays weren’t isos by design, but by necessity. The only Clipper who seemed able to create for himself, Chris Paul, had a correlative difficulty creating for others during the dismal second half. But a primary factor differentiating this Clippers team from last year’s is they don’t get complacent and play down to the level of their less talented opponent. Just as the Clippers shattered the franchise wins streak record, we were reminded of why watching the Clippers of old was such an agonizing experience.
I have some difficulty accepting that this team can ever experience unmitigated success. But it is gradually getting easier.
– Michael Shagrin
Beating the teams you’re supposed to beat, the way you’re supposed to beat them
Beating bad teams is a given. But unlike last season, when the Clippers would let teams hang around and rely on Chris Paul to close them out, this year they’re pummeling them in manner befitting an elite. And it’s important for them to continue this.
As fun as this win streak is, eventually it will end. And it’s unlikely they’ll blowout other strong teams. But the margin of victory they’re building up is what has computer projections gah-gah over the Clippers. As I mentioned on ClipperBlog Live, point differential and strength of schedule are two indicators smart people use to assess title contenders from title pretenders. And as commenter Timmythetooth pointed out, the Clippers just overtook the number one spot with this victory. And viewer Tracy Hiner mentions that the only team with a point differential higher than 9 to not win the title was the ’93 Sonics that lost in the first round. Prior to tonight’s game, the Clippers had an 8.84 point differential. If the Clippers kept it up all season? Only 10 teams have done it since the NBA/ABA merger. And seven of those teams won the title.
So blowouts may make for unexciting gameplay and starters turning into cheerleaders for entire fourth quarters, but it’s a pretty big indicator that there will be Clippers cheerleaders come June.
– Andrew Han