Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: For the second time in three games, J.J. Redick chose the third quarter to become a Super Saiyan, this time scoring 13 of his team-high 26 points in the quarter. 8 of his 14 spirit balls hit the mark, going 5-of-6 from deep. Redick scoring 20 or more points is beginning to become known to some as the new Lawler’s Law, and considering that the team is now 33-4 in his time as a Clipper when he reaches that mark, it’s not hard to see why.
That was … holding the lead: Since Chris Paul shot the team into a 94-93 lead against the Utah Jazz, the Clippers have sustained a period of play where they have not relinquished a lead. With tonight’s end-to-end victory against the Hornets, they’ve now had nearly 99 straight minutes of play where the opponent has not lead during the game.
X factor: Austin Rivers was 4 of 6 from behind the three-point line. Judging by his performance this evening, one wouldn’t have realized that the four makes in tonight’s game matched the number of three-point makes he’s had over the previous 18 games or that he is 14 of 68 on threes for the season.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
This dynamic where the Clippers hyper focus and bear down in the absence of a star fascinates me. 3rd straight year
— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) December 31, 2015
The @LAClippers have hit at least 10 three-pointers in 6 of their last 8 gms incl tonight. They hit 10+ 3's five times in their 1st 25 gms.
— Isaac Lowenkron (@isaaclowenkron) December 31, 2015
Check Your Messages
Tonight was an incredible display of shooting from the Clippers. One of the best ever in league history. And in the process, they set a milestone.
The Clippers made 15-of-30 3-point FGs and 33-of-41 FTs tonight in Charlotte. The Clippers are one of six teams to make at least 15 3s and 33 FTs in a game in NBA history. Back in March 2015, the Clippers also made 15 3s and 35 FTs in a win at Oklahoma City – without Blake Griffin. The Clippers are the only team in league history to have more than one game with at least 15 made 3s and 33 made FTs.
The last 30 games that the Clippers made at least 50 percent of their 3-pointers have all resulted in wins. That’s the longest current streak in NBA history.
In addition to that, you had the players hitting those shots. Austin Rivers scored 22 points, making 4-of-6 from downtown. That’s the most points off the bench by a Clipper this season! Jamal Crawford got another one of his trademark 4-point plays in – his 44th of his career, extending his NBA record. Chris Paul struggled from the field and missed all 3 of his 3s, but he made a season-high 11-of-12 FTs. And of course there’s J.J. Redick, who led the team with 26 points and 5 made 3-pointers.
It’s been an unlikely run for the Clippers, who are starting 38-year-old Paul Pierce at PF. 4 straight wins is good, but the way they’ve been shooting the ball and getting production from the bench is special, even if it’s not necessarily sustainable.
Vote for Pablo
The inclusion of Cole Aldrich, who has usurped the role as the first big man off the bench, is one of the most notable changes to the bench rotation during the past couple weeks.
Less talked about, though, is that while Pablo Prigioni began to receive minutes in the absence of Austin Rivers, that he continues to see major time on the floor even in Rivers’ return from his ankle injury.
A 47-point performance from the bench on the heels of a 54-point contribution is surely exciting, even if two games are a small sample size. But watching how those points are scored while Pablo has been on the floor — pick-and-roll action between Prigioni and Cole Aldrich while the wings find open spots along the perimeter and behind the arc — is perhaps the most reassuring sign of bench’s recent success.