Clippers run win streak to 11

Performing his due diligence as a coach, Doc Rivers pulled out the video of the last time the Clippers faced the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The dreaded homework assignment was as difficult to endure as he expected.
“Honestly, I don’t know what I learned from that,” Rivers said. “You needed like three Diet Cokes to stay awake watching that game. That game was horrible to watch. By both teams. They were just less worse than us in that game.”
It was a little easier to watch Sunday night when the Clippers pulled together for a 102-80 victory over Cleveland at Staples Center. It came after another ailment struck the team when guard Darren Collison was a late scratch due to a stomach virus.
On his 25 th birthday, Griffin had 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Chris Paul had 16 points and 15 assists and though the Clippers made only 44.7 percent of their shots, they committed only seven turnovers and limited Cleveland to 34.9 percent shooting.
“That’s the funnest part of the game, to tell you the truth,” Paul said of the Clippers’ defense. “Yeah, it’s nice to see 3’s and dunks and stuff go in, but the most frustrating thing you can do to another team is to stop them defensively and I think that’s where we’re really making our imprint on the games, and we’re doing it at the right time.”
The Clippers were held to a season-low 82 points on Dec. 7 in Cleveland but jumped out to a 9-0 lead, kicked it up to as many as 22 points and were never seriously threatened.
The Clippers take their winning streak to Denver Monday night. It ties for the second-longest win streak in franchise history, equaling the 11 in a row Buffalo Braves won in November of 1974.
They set the club mark last season when they won 17 in a row, not that the Clippers are completely interested in the streak.
“It’s funny,” Paul said. “We went 17 last year, and right now it’s the right time of year to be playing pretty well.”
Rookie Reggie Bullock, celebrating his 23 rd birthday, got first-quarter playing time and took advantage of his opportunity. He scored six of his career-high 14 points in the opening period, helping the Clippers to a 27-18 lead.
Before he could think about playing, though, he had to sing “Happy Birthday” to Griffin. The entire team sang for Bullock.
“It’s probably like the 10 th time he’s had to do it this year,” Griffin said of Bullock’s rendition. “And it seems like he’s getting worse.”
He might have had his potential role for the night on his mind, too.
“I just thought, ‘We’ve got so many guards out, who’s going to play the 2?’ I guess I’m the next guy in line,” Bullock said. “I just try to be confident.”
And forward Matt Barnes continued his run as well. Barnes had 11 points, making it the 12 th consecutive game of scoring in double figures. Barnes entered Sunday’s game averaging 16.4 points per game in March, shooting 55.7 percent from the field and making 41.7 percent of his 3-pointers.
He took over the starting small forward duties on Jan. 20.
Paul again struggled with his shot until it mattered. He went 5-for-6 from the field and scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.
“He’s such a great shooter,” Rivers said. “I think there are times when he’s so focused on running the team, he comes off wide open and he’s still looking to run the team and then he’ll shoot, and those are hard shots.
“At the point guard spot, when you decide to shoot, it’s your shot. I thought he did a great job of that in the fourth quarter.”
Luol Deng led Cleveland with 23 points and Dion Waiters had 15 off the bench.
Center Spencer Hawes had 14 points and five rebounds but was ejected with 1:19 left in the game.