Red-hot Clippers produce third unbeaten month in NBA history
TribLIVE Sports Videos
LOS ANGELES — Having wrapped up December with just the third 16-0 month in NBA history, the Los Angeles Clippers face tough challenges starting the new year.
They'll play four games this week, with two opponents having winning records and the other at .500. The Clippers take their franchise-record 17-game winning streak into Denver on Tuesday, where the Nuggets are 9-1 at home.
“It'll be a big test for us,” Blake Griffin said.
Denver is the first game of a back-to-back, with a visit to Golden State on Wednesday. The Warriors handed the Clippers their first loss of the season on Nov. 3. The Clippers return home on Friday to host the Lakers, a team they've already beaten once and who are back to .500. Then comes the second game of another back-to-back against the Warriors.
“We're going to lose at some point, but this is a magical run,” said Caron Butler, who had 29 points in a 107-96 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday that maintained the league's best record at 25-6.
The Clippers haven't lost since Nov. 26.
“I want to do this every year,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “This has got to be a staple of how we go about doing our business. We're thinking bigger than the streak.”
They have proven they can win on successive nights during the streak, having done so on Dec. 8 against Phoenix and the next night against Toronto, then again on Dec. 11 at Chicago and the following night in Milwaukee.
“We're just trying to build as many wins as possible,” Chris Paul said. “Last week was a tough week (wins over Denver, Boston and Utah twice). We don't look past anybody.”
The Clippers went 16-0 in December to join the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs, which included Del Negro, and 1971-72 Lakers as the only teams to go undefeated in a month. Their franchise-record winning streak is the longest since Boston won 19 in a row four years ago.
“I am amazed because I haven't done it since I've been in the league,” said Paul, a seven-year veteran who had 19 points and nine assists against Utah.
“It's a tribute to everybody in here,” Griffin said. “Everybody has been a huge part one night or the other. It's a selfless attitude the team has taken on. This is the most fun I've ever had playing basketball.”
The Clippers have been winning without injured veterans Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill.
“We really haven't had an opportunity to see what it looks like,” Paul said of the entire team.
Still, they've won 11 of their 17 games by 12 points or more, and their defense has allowed 100 points just three times during the streak. They've been winning so handily that Paul and Griffin rarely have to play in the fourth quarter. Both are averaging career low minutes in the final period this season.
“We expect to win every time we step out on the court,” Butler said. “We have a good mixture of young guys and veterans, and we do a good job of policing ourselves. Coach lets us control the environment. We do a great job being unselfish on and off the court.”
After putting away the Jazz, Butler headed out to join his teammates at a dinner organized by Ryan Hollins. And no, the streak wasn't going to be part of the conversation.
“It's something that kind of keeps happening,” Griffin said. “It's not something we talk about.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
- Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
- Gameday: Pirates at Reds, Aug. 2, 2015
- Architecture: Visionaries saw buildings but not the political surroundings
- East Liberty native steps off Broadway to bring ‘Kinky Boots’ home
- Road Trip! Destination: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Inside the Steelers: QB Jones continues to get majority of snaps
- Western Pa. prosecutors zero in on human trafficking; legislation pending
- Pittsburgh Glass Center exhibits new wares that reinterpret antiquities
- With a new ‘Vacation’, a look at laughable comedy remakes
- Former Steeler Mendenhall relishes writing for HBO’s ‘Ballers’