The Clippers had a fairly easy time against the Hornets, as the starters were able to rest while the home team secured their 11th straight win.
The Clippers have another win, and I have some more bullet points about the takeaways from tonight's game.
- Chris Paul is Chris Paul: There wasn't any single standout performance tonight, but in my mind, the game ball goes to the Clippers' leader, Chris Paul. He was the only player to have double digits in any statistic other than points with 12 assists. He also threw in 10 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal in only 28 minutes. Oh yeah, he had those 12 assists without a single turnover. That's pretty impressive. Oh yeah again, he had a two handed slam in transition.
- Starters Rest: It feels like every game I'm recapping recently, the starters are getting extensive rest. I guess that's not a bad thing. Once again, no starter played more than Blake Griffin's 29, and the team leader in playing time was Jamal Crawford off of the bench. Chris Paul only played 28 minutes, and besides those three, the other 7 players in the regular rotation played between 19-24 minutes.
- Solid Defense for Blake: Blake Griffin had a pedestrian stat line tonight with 18 points, 2 assists, and a steal, but only 4 rebounds. Blake, however, brought a good defensive effort tonight, pressuring Hornets starting point guard Greivis Vaquez into a turnover at least once.
- Jamal Crawford back on track: After having some performances of late that left Clippers fans less than impressed, Jamal seemed to bounce back a little bit in tonight's game, shooting 6-14 and coming up with 17 points and 5 assists to go with 3 steals. The points you might expect, but the assists and steals are gravy.
- Turnover battle: Not turning the ball over is important. Forcing turnovers is important. Over the course of the previous 10 games- all wins- the Clippers are only turning the ball over 11 times a game. Tonight, they only had 12 (five from DeAndre Jordan), and forced 20 from the Hornets. That's a recipe for success.
- Chris Paul hits 5,000: It's another section dedicated to Chris Paul, as he hit a big career milestone tonight with his 5,000th assist. The magic number came, fittingly, to co-all-star Blake Griffin on Paul's 9th assist of the evening. According to basketball-reference.com, Paul is now the 53rd player in NBA history with 5,000. Next ahead of him is Walt Frazier, with 5,040. During the PrimeTicket broadcast, Ralph Lawler said that he was the 5th fastest player to the milestone. Paul is 9th in career assists among active players, behind a bunch of aging veterans (Kidd, Nash, Andre Miller, Baron Davis, Billups, Bryant, Bibby, and Garnett).
- Double Figure Scoring: The Clippers had 5 players in double figures tonight, but none over 20, in a balanced scoring effort. Griffin led the team with 18, followed by Crawford with 17, Jordan with 12, Paul with 10, and Barnes with 11. Yes, this is another game where Barnes had double digit scoring off the bench, and the Clippers won. Los Angeles remains undefeated in those games.
- Division Picture: The Clippers are still on top in the Pacific with their best-in-franchise-history 19-6 start. The Warriors lost to division rival Sacramento tonight, putting them 2.5 games behind LAC. The Lakers, Suns, and Kings are in distant 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively.
- Conference Ramifications: The Thunder won again tonight, with a 12 game win streak that refuses to let the Clippers gain any ground on them, as LA stays 2 games behind Oklahoma City. Memphis and San Antonio are each a full game behind the Clippers to round out the top 4.
- Streak!: The Clippers have 11 in a row after tonight, which ties the 1975 Buffalo Braves' franchise record for longest winning streak. The competition stays relatively week in the coming games, but the Clippers can't nap on any of these teams if they want to extend the streak.
- Next Game: The Clippers take on the Kings Friday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. The thread is up at 7:15. See you there for 12 straight!
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