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Sunday, March 16, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 102, Cavaliers 80

By Arash Markazi



LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers is used to switching up his starting lineup at the last minute by now.

During the Los Angeles Clippers’ current 11-game winning streak, L.A. has been without, at various times, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison. (You could also add Danny Granger when he was forced to miss a game as a result of not being circled on the active list.)

On Sunday, Willie Green was forced to start at shooting guard as essentially the team’s fourth option. Redick, who would normally start, is sidelined indefinitely with a bulging disk in his lower back. His backup Crawford is sidelined at least another week with a strained left calf. And Collison, who was starting in Crawford’s place (and also started in place of Chris Paul this season) was a late scratch with a stomach virus.

As has been the case this season, the Clippers didn’t miss a beat without Redick, Crawford or Collison as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-80, to win a season-high and current league-high 11th straight game.

How it happened: The Clippers jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter and pushed it to 16 by halftime and 21 in the third quarter. L.A., however, let Cleveland back into the game in fourth quarter as its lead was dwindled down to seven points before the Clippers finally pulled away.

What it means: It means the Clippers have won a season-high 11 straight games, the longest active winning streak in the league. They also took a six-game lead over the Golden State Warriors in the Pacific Division. The Clippers also hold a three-game lead, which is really four with the tiebreaker, over the Houston Rockets for the third seed. L.A. is just three games back of the top seed in the West and two games back of the No. 2 seed.

Hits: Blake Griffin had 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and has now scored at least 20 points in a franchise-record 26 straight games, which is the second-longest streak in the NBA this season. Paul had 16 points and 15 assists and DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 10 rebounds. It was the eighth time this season all three players reached a double-double in the same game. The Clippers’ “big three” has combined for 108 double-doubles this season, the most by three teammates in the NBA this year.

Misses: It was a rough night for Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who has played well defensively but has yet to make his presence felt on offense. On Sunday he went 1-for-5 from the field for two points off the bench, but added seven rebounds.

Stat of the game: The Clippers had 25 fast-break points to just five for Cleveland and had 40 points in the paint compared to 30 for the Cavs.

Up next: The Clippers will board a flight to Denver immediately after the game to play the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. The season series is tied after the Clippers lost to the Nuggets in their last meeting in Denver, when Randy Foye hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 116-115 win.