Something else to cross off the franchise to-do list.
The Clippers won for the first time in Cleveland since Lamar Odom's hopeful rookie season. The final score ended up being 105-89, and while the Cavs seemed to be in striking distance for most of the night, the Clips lead from wire to wire and were constantly in control. The Clippers also tied the franchise record with road wins in a single season, with their 20th road win of the year tonight. Not a bad way to avenge one of the more agonizing home losses of the season.
The Clippers won this game casually and simply overwhelmed an undermanned Cavalier team. There were spurts of dominance and Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had their share of spectacular highlights, but the quarters played out pretty evenly, particularly a second quarter and third quarter where the Clips only out scored the Cavs collectively by a single point. On offense the Clippers were generally efficient but no one over exerted themselves when you glance at the box score, as no Clipper shot over 15 times tonight. However Chris Paul quietly dominated the game with his 15 assists while Jamal Crawford had one of his better shooting nights of the season with a nifty 24 points on 8-14 shooting. Griffin's game came a bit quietly but he had a full statline tonight with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 3s in assists, steals, and blocks. That's the highest number of combined blocks and steals Griffin has had in a single game in his career. Lamar Odom's mini-resurgence continued with another game in double figures, and once again Caron Butler was timely early as he chipped in 13 points. The team's 3 point shooting woes continued, but they looked sharp in most other aspects. At the end of the night the Clippers were finally able to pull away late and get their starters some rest in the 4th.
So the Clippers coasted to a game they by all means should have won. With all due respect to the Cavs who came into this game hot, this Cleveland team is missing their two best players and sported a team that quite showed that tonight. Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson both flashed some of their potential tonight though, so that team has some general hope going into the future, probably faster than most of us would have expected in the post LeBron era. And while we all missed out on the very very good Kyrie Irving tonight, it's never the worst thing to know that Shaun Livingston still plays basketball and can handle a night of starter's minutes.
Now comes a showdown with the Thunder on Sunday, and after how the Clippers have looked against contenders of late, this game looks to be an important measuring stick. Not to mention the fact that the Clips could be quite close to the Thunder in the standings by night's end.
For the Cavs perspective, check out Fear the Sword.