Friday, December 21, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 97, Kings 85
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- Jamal Crawford didn't know much about the Buffalo Braves. He still doesn't. When he was asked before Friday's game what he knew about the 1974-75 Braves team that won 11 consecutive games, he smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Bob McAdoo? I know that. He was a great scorer on that team."
Crawford was being asked about the 1974-75 Braves because that was the last team in Clippers franchise history that won 11 straight games. On Friday night, the Los Angeles Clippers erased that record and went one better, winning their 12th straight game with a 97-85 win over the Sacramento Kings.
"One day," Crawford said. "Hopefully someone else will be asked about this team if they come close to breaking our record."
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Despite notching their 12th win a row, the Clippers played far from a solid game. They had 11 turnovers in the first half and finished with 20 turnovers. Time after time, a fast break was stalled by a bad pass or a poor decision. It was perhaps the first time this season that the Clippers' "Lob City" nickname got in the way of the team's performance as a handful of lob passes were poorly timed or simply not anticipated by the intended target. The Clippers were able to overcome their mistakes because the Kings finished with 17 turnovers of their own, but the Clippers can't play the way they did Friday and expect their streak to continue for much longer.
Griffin and Paul
During the Clippers' winning streak, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul haven't had to play like All-Stars. In fact, they haven't even had to play much, or at all, in the fourth quarter. But on Friday, Griffin and Paul showed why they could both again be All-Star starters this season. Griffin finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds and Paul finished with 24 points and 13 assists. The tandem connected on a couple of highlight-reel plays in the first half and helped calm the team late. The two not only helped the Clippers jump out to a 17-point lead but had to return to the game in the fourth quarter to help close out the Clippers' historic win after the bench struggled down the stretch.
There are plenty of athletic players on the Clippers, but if you were to take a poll in the locker room, the player who would be named the Clippers' most athletic is Eric Bledsoe. Of all the highlight-reel plays the Clippers have had this season -- and there have been plenty -- Bledsoe's block from behind on a Thomas Robinson dunk in the second quarter was maybe the most impressive of them all. It was reminiscent of a similar block Bledsoe had on Dwyane Wade earlier in the season, and once again reinforced Bledsoe's reputation as being the best shot-blocking guard in the NBA. It's a nice title Bledsoe can now add to already being the most athletic player on a team which boasts Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.