You know the deal. Let's jump into some game details, followed by big picture stuff. The rundown of what you need to know following this afternoon's 18-point trouncing of the Clippers' division rival from Arizona.
- Big Day for Blake: Blake Griffin had a monster performance today with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals in only 29 minutes. All 5 numbers in that sentence are wonderful, but the last may be the most important. No Clippers starter had more than 30 minutes. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are playing 5-8 less minutes most nights than they would have been last season, and that should save them from some minor injuries later in the spring.
- Double-Double for Chris Paul: CP3 continued to be "solid" for the Clippers today, with 16 points and 11 assists in 30 minutes. Again, low minutes, more rest, blowout wins in December will all help to keep him as healthy as possible through the rest of the year.
- Lamar Odom resurgence: What did I tell you guys? Give him 20 games. Guess what? This is game 19, and he had 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in 21 minutes off the bench. Including a dive for a loose ball. It's not a question anymore. He's about 80% back and he's coming the rest of the way back.
- Bench Guards: Slow Start, Strong Finish: After being benched early for some lackluster play, Eric Bledsoe had a dominant fourth quarter with two dunks en route to 10 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals in only 18 minutes of play. Jamal Crawford was 3-11 from the field after the third quarter, but he was a strong 5-8 in the fourth as he sparked the explosion of the lead from four to fourteen over the final 12 minutes of play (all of which were starterless).
- Matt Barnes Giveth, and Matt Barnes Taketh Away: Today, Barnes did what we know he can do. He had 8 rebounds and finished well inside off of cuts. But he was only 1-3 from deep, and all of his attempts are always wide open. It's hard to choose between him and Caron Butler (2-5 from deep, but only 2 rebounds).
- Turnovers trending downwards: The Clippers only had 11 miscues today, which is especially impressive considering the fast pace and multitude of possessions available. They're averaging over 15 turnovers a game on the season, and keeping that number down is key. The Clippers also lead the NBA in forcing turnovers with 17.9 a game, and today they forced 20. So a good day all around in the turnovers department for LAC.
- Division picture:
Team Name Record Games Back Los Angeles Clippers 13-6 - Golden State Warriors 12-7 1 Los Angeles Lakers 9-11 4.5 Sacramento Kings 6-12 6.5 Phoenix Suns 7-14 7
- Conference Snapshot:
Record Games Back T-1 Oklahoma City Thunder 16-4 - T-1 San Antonio Spurs 16-4 - 3 Memphis Grizzles 14-3 .5 4 Los Angeles Clippers 13-6 2.5 5 Golden State Warriors 12-7 3.5
- Winning Streak: The Clippers have won 5 games in a row. That ties them with New York for the second longest streak in the league, behind Oklahoma City at 7. If the Clippers can extend their streak to 6, it will be the third six game winning streak that the Clippers have had in the Chris Paul era. They have yet to win 7 in a row with Paul at the helm.
- Next Game: The Clippers play again right away as they take on the Toronto Raptors in Staples center tomorrow at 12:30 Pacific time. Steve will have the preview up tonight some time, I'll be on the thread tomorrow, and then I'll be right back with another recap. See you tomorrow at 12:15 on the thread!
- Opponent Perspective: To see what the Suns thought of this game, visit Bright Side Of The Sun.