The Los Angeles Clippers truly had a December to remember in 2012. Has there ever been a better time to be a Clippers fan? They were not only winning every game that month, but they were winning them big and with style. Magic Johnson was comparing them to his Showtime Los Angeles Lakers. Billy Crystal was doing Sportscenter and color commentary on Clippers primetime games. Blake Griffin was throwing down, Jamal Crawford was jacking it up. Chris Paul was dishing and DeAndre Jordan was destroying.
The Clippers went 16-0 in December for the only undefeated month in franchise history. It all started with a 116-81 win at home against the Sacramento Kings, a game none of the starters played in during the fourth quarter. From there they went on the road to face the Utah Jazz and won a squeaker as Griffin had 30 points to lead the comeback from 14 down late in the third.
The Clippers then mauled the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors all by double digits on a three game home stand. Then it was on the road to face the Eastern Conference teams on a four game trip. First they topped the Chicago Bulls 94-89. Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds to make it seven in a row, the longest win streak in two decades. Little did we know there were a lot more to come. The following night it was off to face the Charlotte Bobcats. The Clippers got 19 points from Paul, Griffin and Matt Barnes as they won a grind-it-out game on the second night of a road back-to-back.
Barnes led the Clippers with 21 points in a 11-85 whipping of the Milwaukee Bucks and then they ended the trip with an 88-76 pounding of the Detroit Pistons. The Clippers were winning ugly, pretty, low scoring, high scoring, nail-biters and blow outs. That’s a team on a hot streak.
The Clippers came back home to whip the New Orleans Hornets 93-77 and the Kings again 97-85. They then went on the road again and absolutely crushed the Suns 103-77 in a game Paul had 17 points and 13 assists. Then came the game on Christmas night, the fifth NBA game of the day on national television and probably the most entertaining. The Clippers and Denver Nuggets were two of the best up-tempo teams in the NBA and they did not disappoint in a 112-100 Clippers win. The Clippers made it 14 in a row with the win, but their post game comments made it sound like they were not satisfied. Chris Paul called the streak “Fool’s Gold.” How right he turned out to be.
However the month was not over as the Clippers beat the Boston Celtics in a blow-out 106-77. The next night they had another close call with the Jazz in Utah winning 116-114 in a game they trailed by 19 points. Then to close out the perfect month, they beat the Jazz for the third time 107-96 for their 17th straight win and a perfect 16-0 December. They would be the third team in NBA history to record a perfect month. Even the Miami Heat did not accomplish the feat despite a 27 game win streak.
The streak was snapped immediately as the calendar flipped to 2013. Although the rest of the season was still a good one, the Clippers clearly played their best basketball in the 2012 portion of the schedule. They went 9-7 in January as Paul was struggling to recover from banging knees in a loss to the Orlando Magic with J. J. Redick in the sixth game of the month. The Clippers went 8-5 in February and 7-7 in March. In April, they closed out the regular season going 7-1 before facing the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs. April turned out to be more Fool’s Gold.
But December was a lot of fun to be a Clippers fan. For a month, the Clippers were at the top of the world. Hopefully, next year there will be more months like that one and fewer 7-7 and 9-7 months.