No fear, no losing: Clippers' streak reaches 15
DEC 27, 2012 10:57p ET
But right now, they're living in the moment.
No one wants to think about it. They've won 15 consecutive games. They're 14-0 in December. They have the best record in the NBA. Thursday night on national TV, they crushed the Boston Celtics 106-77 at Staples Center, their largest margin of victory over the Celtics in franchise history.
"We respect all our opponents, but we don't fear anybody," guard Jamal Crawford said. "We feel like we're a special team. Now people are starting to realize it."
The Clippers have made it abundantly clear they're the real thing. When they shoot as well as they did Thursday, when they don't turn over the ball and when they play heady defense, most games look as easy as this one.
With two games remaining in December — a road contest Friday night at Utah, then a home game Sunday against the Jazz — the Clippers have a chance to become only the third team in league history to go 16-0 in one month: The Lakers did it in December 1971, and the San Antonio Spurs matched the mark in March 1996.
"I think the biggest thing that everybody is taking on is to win, not settling for less," Chris Paul said. "Trying to win at all costs, all times. It's all about winning. It's not about anything else."
Again, the Clippers relied on their bench to beat a Celtics team that was 5-8 on the road. The reserves scored as many points (53) as the starters, led by Matt Barnes' 21 and Crawford's 17. The Clippers had 31 assists on 41 baskets and committed just eight turnovers. They shot 48.2 percent from the field.
They stumbled just once in the second quarter when Boston cut its deficit to four points against the Clippers reserves. But just as quickly, it was back to 12: Crawford scored a layup, then followed with a short jump shot, Eric Bledsoe stole a pass from Jeff Green and converted a dunk, and an Odom blocked shot resulted in a fast-break basket by Barnes.
The Clippers' lead in the second half was never less than 11 points and grew to 32.
"After that, we're going to hide some money in the ceiling," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I mean, geez, they're unbelievable."
The Clippers are hearing those kinds of reviews from a lot of coaches. Earlier this week, Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry called them "the best team we've played." Tuesday night, Denver Nuggets coach George Karl said the Clippers "moved into what I call the top five in basketball."
Rivers said, "When you're playing a team that's got a winning streak like they do, everybody wants to beat them. I thought every single individual on our team wanted to beat them, and every individual tried to do it by themselves."
It didn't work. The Clippers just keep marching forward, winning and refusing to consider when their streak will end.
"It's a great streak, I'm not going to lie," Barnes said. "But it's still early in the season. We still have a lot to prove. Nothing's been done, nothing's been won here yet. We just want to build good habits, stay healthy and stay consistent."
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