I’m starting to believe. I’m really, REALLY starting to believe.
The Clippers didn’t just beat the Milwaukee Bucks on their home floor – they humiliated them 111-85. From the opening minute to the closing seconds, the Clippers showed why they are the deepest, scariest, and promising team in the NBA. How scary? Jamal Crawford, the Clipper’s leading scorer, had only 6 points in the demolition.
Matt Barnes – MATT BARNES – led the team in scoring with 21 points to go along with his 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a crazy side block of a Marquis Daniels layup for added measure. DeAndre Jordan slammed 15 points points and grabbed 11 rebounds to notch the double-double along with Chris Paul (10 points, 13 assists) and Blake Griffin (18 points, 11 rebounds) following Jordan’s lead. Even Lamar Odom joined in the fun, hitting two 3-pointers on his way to 10 points and making his presence felt all over the court with 5 rebounds and great defensive pressure on the over matched Buck’s lineup.
Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings were both held well below their season averages, scoring only 13 and 9, respectively. Marquis Daniels led Milwaukee with 16 points, but most of them came on long jump shots with the Bucks way behind.
It was Blake Griffin who doled out the most punishment, however, once again powering his way past anyone the Bucks threw at him to virtually dunk at will. Chris Paul kept penetrating, Blake kept rolling, and the Clippers kept jamming home baskets. On one highlight sequence, CP3 fired a one-handed bounce pass from almost 30 feet away on the baseline to a streaking Matt Barnes for a reverse layup that kept the (sadly) half empty arena eerily quiet.
Now, I’ve been a Clippers fan since I arrived in Los Angeles in 1984 and still can’t believe what I”m seeing. The team is ridiculously balanced (and deep) and their chemistry is showing in the ways the team can hurt opponents from almost every fundamental direction. Chris Paul is simply the best floor general in the NBA – period. Blake keeps improving (see that jump shot?), as is DeAndre Jordan. They continue to get better defensively and are giving up fewer open 3-pointers, which killed them earlier in the season and all of last year. Scoring is coming from every player and their set plays are getting smoother by the game. The fast break is frightening, especially off steals (the Clippers are in the top three in forcing turnovers) and long rebounds. Most importantly, they are conserving minutes and banking wins early, which means they’ll enter the playoffs with less wear and tear – especially on Paul and Griffin. It’s not inconceivable that they’ll be 20-6 by the end of the week.
Now, on to Detroit to keep the good times rolling. Belief is something we Clipper fans haven’t experienced much in our team’s history, but this storied season is making our dreams come true.
Tags: Blake Griffin Caron Butler Chauncey Billups Chris Paul DeAndre Jordan Eric Bledsoe Grant Hill Jamal Crawford LA Clippers Lamar Odom Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers Matt Barnes NBA Vinny Del Negro