This time, it’s personal. Jaws 4, the Revenge
Riding a four game win streak (with three of the victories on the road, against possible playoff teams), sitting comfortably atop the Pacific Division, and holding the NBA’s second best record, we fans should be doing cartwheels and clicking our heels three times, no? Sloppy as it was, the Clippers are now at the level where they can get wins without playing at their best and that puts them into the elite as far as this editor is concerned. Their game against Washington, in which they shot only 35% (including missing 11 of 14 shots in one 4th quarter stretch), is proof that the Clippers have enough firepower, defensive intensity, and wherewithal to hold off most teams.
No. Of all the successes our team has enjoyed thus far, we have two blemishes that remain to be dealt with, and our heroes get their chance to check them off in successive games.
First, there’s the matter of “the one that got away in OKC.” Back on November 21st, the Clippers faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in their arena riding a six game winning streak. With a playoff-like atmosphere, our team fell behind by as many as 12 points late, but managed to cut the lead to 7 going into the 4th quarter home stretch, finally tying the game at 102 with only a few second left and the ball in Chris Paul’s hands. Paul managed to launch a decent shot as time expired, but it barely missed and the game went into overtime, the Thunder finally prevailing as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored every point, including a ridiculous 7 for 8 from the charity stripe, to secure a 117-111 win. The Clippers were granted only one free-throw in the extra period and Chris Paul was left shaking his head in the locker room afterward, saying, “Man, we shoulda won that game. Regardless of what anyone says it’s gonna be tough for us to win a game when I play that bad. It’s tough because you work so hard but there’s just gonna be nights like that.”
The second item is to payback the Golden State Warriors for their lopsided victory over us in Oracle Arena to start 2013. In that game, their bench taunted Blake Griffin after a bad miss (and Coach Mark Jackson piled on, suggesting Blake was an “actor”) and celebrated as though they’d won the NBA title after the blowout. Once could argue the Clips exacted suitable vengeance after beating the Warriors badly back at Staples a few days later – even rubbing it in with a DeAndre Jordan alley-oop dunk while up by 36 points – but it’s time to go back into their house and clean it up, wiping the smirk off David Lee’s face once and for all. The Warriors have stumbled of late, and were terrified when guard Stephen Curry re injured his ankle in practice a week ago, but he’s recovered and the team will be at full strength for the Monday matinee.
Topics: Blake Griffin, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers, Lamar Odom, Lob City, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Clippers, Matt Barnes, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, Vinny Del Negro, Warriors