That was a ride.
The Clippers earned their best win of the season tonight in game number 20, taking down the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers 113-94. The Cavs definitely didn’t play their best game, but the Clippers brought enough fire for both teams, pushing the buttons of a Cleveland team that failed to respond.
J.J. Redick led the Clippers with 23 points in just 25 minutes on a hyper-efficient 9-13 shooting, but the contributions came from everywhere tonight. Griffin, struggling to score, had 11 assists instead. Chris Paul had 16 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes. DeAndre Jordan pitched in 8 offensive rebounds en route to 15 total, while Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers each threw in 12 points off of the bench. Rivers also added 7 assists, including a first quarter stretch where he replaced a foul-plagued Chris Paul and ran the first-unit offense.
Notably, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute played excellently against LeBron James, holding the reigning Finals MVP to 16 points on 5-14 shooting, while forcing him into 5 turnovers. For his own part, Luc contributed 6 points on 3-7 shooting with an assist—not good by any means, but enough to avoid being a liability on that end of the floor.
Enjoy this win, Clippers fans, because it’s a unique one. The Clippers haven’t beaten Cleveland since LeBron’s return, and they have never beaten a LeBron James-led team on the road since he entered the league (really!).
If the Clippers consider themselves one of the league’s four elite contenders, they’re now 2-0 against the other three, each blowout wins on the road. Next week, they’ll get their first shot of the season against the Golden State Warriors, a game that will carry a lot of meaning for this team’s confidence as they continue through the regular season.