I wish I had some poetic words for you; some great analogy to really capture everything. Some infinite basketball wisdom. I don’t have any of those things. I guess all I can really muster is that if you’re anything like me, you struggle to appreciate the moment while you’re in it. You can look back and you can look ahead, but the present escapes you. Don’t let it. 14 straight. The NBA’s best record. One of the most brilliant point guards to ever play, flanked by two of the most athletic bigs the league has seen. This is incredible. Forget about the past, don’t worry about what’s to come. Enjoy this — right here, right now. To Last Call:
Recap | Box score
Well that was…Showtime. Is it blasphemy if it comes from the architect himself? The great Magic Johnson pegged the Clippers as the new Showtime, and with the aerial display and point guard wizardry displayed tonight, it’s easy to see the parallels.
X-Factor: Denver is deep, but the Clippers trot out a second unit that could realistically secede and form their own team. A Tribe Called Bench was up to no good again, outscoring the Nuggets 64-47 on the evening.
MVP: Matt Barnes. The first quarter was a feeling out period, but Barnes sparked the Clippers’ 42-point second quarter explosion with his usual heady off-ball play. Barnes is a barometer: the Clippers are now 19-1 when he scores in double-digits.
14 wins a row
I feel like the little kid in every Christmas movie who doesn’t believe in Santa Clause until the end of the movie. Nothing is too preposterous anymore. On that note, consider the following numbers: The Clippers are tied for the 10th longest winning streak in NBA history. They are only 8 wins away from tying the second longest streak, and 19 away from tying the league record, held by the other LA team back in 1971. It it possible? Why the hell not!
Tweet of the Game
“I thought I would never, ever see showtime again. And I was the architect of showtime. The Clippers? That’s showtime.” – @magicjohnson
— Dime Update (@DimeUpdate) December 26, 2012
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment: No ClipperBlogLive tonight, mostly because we didn’t think you would want to spend your Christmas evening watching us smile and just say “wow” over and over again. If it makes you feel better, I’m 100% certain Andrew wore a silly hat today.
Everyone’s favorite time traveler (non Marty McFly division) and Cliff Paul’s baby brother try and help the media wrap their heads around the idea that the Clippers are the best team in the NBA. Video is courtesy of Jovan Buha, who is much taller than everyone else.
Check Your Messages
Card Counting on the Court
Midway through the third quarter, on a secondary break, Caron Butler pulled up for a wide-open 3-pointer. Open as far as the eye can see. So open, in fact, that when he elevated, Iguodala (who was 10 feet away) simply turned around to seek out the impending rebound. But Butler didn’t shoot it. He dished it to an equally wide-open Willie Green for a corner-3, who promptly drained it. I mention it because I wondered why Butler passed on his shot; he’s been an effective 3-point shooter this season. And so I checked the stats:
Caron Butler: 37.8% 3PT% from above-the-break-3.
Willie Green: 48.3% 3PT% from the corner-3.
They were similarly wide open, but Butler understood that the corner-3 is a higher percentage shot, and a much higher one for Willie Green. You play the hand you’re dealt. And while, to others, it seems like you’re on a hot streak, it’s all about counting the odds.
Sharing is Caring
One of the underrated parts of Griffin’s game is his passing. He may not be at the level of Joakim Noah or Marc Gasol, but he has to be in the conversation for top-five passing big men in the league. He found numerous shooters and cutters all night, finishing with six assists, and would have finished with more had his targets simply made their shots. As a team, the Clippers were just as impressive, totaling 29 assists on just 45 field goals. That’s an incredible figure, and another sign of how deep and versatile this Clipper team is.
-Jovan Buha at ESPN Los Angeles
Find your bench
I finally understand the magic of Christmas. Holy Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford(!), the Clippers scored 42 points in the second quarter! But seriously, who does that? Lamar Odom stuffed our “stalking” with 10 boards and not a second of exhaustion. Eric Bledsoe did his best Chauncey Billups impression and got to the line whenever it seemed like the double-digit lead was being threatened. And we haven’t even touched on the starters yet.
This Clippers team is special. We all used to wonder what it might be like not to worry about making the Playoffs, but did anybody ever consider that the more relevant question might be “can the Clippers secure homecourt throughout the Playoffs?” I certainly didn’t. Chris Paul and friends are looking to make their mark on this league and, rest assured, the basketball world will be terrified of the red, white, and blue come April.
Jamal Crawford is Babe Ruth, apparently
He called his shot:
Hmmm, shake and bake 2morrow? (Thinking out loud)
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) December 25, 2012
And then he delivered:
Crystal shines like…something shiny?
How funny is Billy Crystal? But more importantly, how happy is Billy Crystal?
Did you see how giddy the most famous Clippers supporter looked on tonight’s ESPN broadcast? He salivated over everything: Paul’s dishing, Griffin’s dunking, Crawford’s Crawfording. And isn’t Crystal indicative of the whole fan base right now?
Clippers fans have to be living in a dream scenario. The best record in the NBA? Better than the Thunder? Better than the Heat?
Clippers basketball has turned out win after win, blowout after blowout, and has even brought us the best “big-play call” ever, with Crystal belting out a healthy “Shabbat Shalom!” in celebration of one of Jamal Crawford’s joystick moves. Shabbat Shalom on Christmas? I guess that makes sense in a world so upside down that it has the Clippers as the best team in the NBA.
But it’s true. Right now they’re the best. And they’re playing like the best. So everyone, Shabbat Shalom! We’re watching a real winner.