Magic Johnson, a Hall of Fame guard with the Lakers, had a lot of nice things to say about the team that shares Staples Center but little else with the 16-time NBA champions. Above all, Johnson said the Clippers are legitimate title contenders.
To hear the Clippers talking Wednesday morning at their shootaround, tying the franchise record for consecutive victories with 11 would be nice. Beating the stuffing out of the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night would be even better. The Hornets are the last team to beat the Clippers, taking them down Nov. 26.
“I really think more important is New Orleans beat us a couple weeks back,” backup small forward Matt Barnes said. “They celebrated like they won a championship. So, I think that’s on our minds first and foremost. Tying the record is important for us, but we’re looking more forward to the payback.”
The Clippers’ victory Wednesday over the Charlotte Bobcats was their eighth in a row, tying their longest winning streak in 21 years. (Nov. 30 through Dec. 15, 1991). They need three more victories to match the longest streak in franchise history (11 consecutive from Nov. 3 to Nov. 23, 1974 while playing as the Buffalo Braves).
What’s more, the Clippers are on pace for their first 50-win season. Their best was 49 victories as the Braves in 1974-75. Their highest win total in Los Angeles was 47 with Mike Dunleavy as their coach and Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Corey Maggette, Sam Cassell and Cattino Mobley as their top players in 2005-06.
“It’s cool,” guard Chris Paul said after the Clippers beat the Bobcats 100-94.. “It just means we’re playing all right now. But we’re not satisfied. We have to keep playing the right way and keep this thing going. Sometimes you’re going to win and play bad and sometimes you’re going to play well and lose. For us it’s all about being consistent.”
The Clippers go for their ninth straight win Saturday against the Bucks in Milwaukee.
The last time they had a six-game winning streak, the Clippers went a little haywire for about a week before they regained their confidence, their rhythm and their winning ways. They don’t want a repeat of their earlier four-game losing streak when they hit the road to start a four-game trip Tuesday night in Chicago.
Matt Barnes, a backup small forward, sounded an optimistic tone after Sunday’s rout of the Toronto Raptors gave the Clippers their second six-game winning streak of the season. He said nothing short of a 3-1 record on their trip to Chicago, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Detroit would be acceptable.
“We know what our ultimate goal is right now,” Barnes said. “We have a very talented team and guys have to make sacrifices. That may be playing time or shots. But whatever it may be, everyone has bought in and the more time we have together, the better we play.”
The Clippers departed for Chicago in first place in the Pacific Division with a 14-6 record. They routed the Bulls in their first meeting at Staples Center by 21 points Nov. 17. These will be their first games against Charlotte, Milwaukee and Detroit this season.
“We know we have something special here,” Barnes added. “It’s a long season and we want to continue to build and continue to set good habits and be healthy at the end of the season and be ready for the playoffs. … This is the most talented team I’ve played on, period. Our ultimate goal is to win a championship.”
Power forward Blake Griffin was named the Western Conference player of the week, not an easy honor when you consider he didn’t play in any of the last three fourth quarters because the Clippers were so far ahead of the opposition.
Griffin led the Clippers to win over the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors. He had 30 points and 11 rebounds against Utah, 19 points and 13 rebounds against Dallas, 24 points and eight rebounds against Phoenix and 19 points and nine rebounds against Toronto.
For the week, he was ninth among players in the West in scoring with an average of 23 points and seventh in rebounding with an average of 10 per game despite sitting out the fourth quarters of blowout victories over the Mavericks, Suns and Raptors.
Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks was the Eastern Conference player of the week.
Blake Griffin appeared on The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons podcast on Wednesday and its still available now to download or listen to.
The various topics that Griffin and Simmons talked about included the current lockout; Griffin’s first-year knee injury; the All-Star break and dunk contest during the middle of last season and teammates Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan, among other things.
You can hear or download the whole podcast at Simmons’ site here. It is labeled with the date of 10/19.
Los Angeles Clippers’ rookie forward Blake Griffin today was named the NBA’s Western Conference T-Mobile Rookie of the Month for games played through March. It is the fifth straight month Griffin has been honored as Rookie of the Month. The Washington Wizards’ John Wall won the award for the Eastern Conference.
Griffin led all rookies in scoring (20.5 ppg), rebounding (10.4 rpg) and tied for second in assists (4.3 apg). He is the only player in the league averaging at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Griffin became the Clippers franchise all-time leading rookie scorer on March 30.
On March 4th, the half-hour special called 24 Hours with Blake Griffin will air on NBA-TV. It will spotlight the Clipper sensation during All-Star Weekend where he played in the Rookie Game, won the Slam Dunk Contest and played in the All-Star Game at Staples Center in three days time.
The half-hour special includes never-before-seen footage of his dunk contest rehearsals, interviews and private moments outside the glare of the media.
The show premieres on Friday at 6 p.m. ET and here is a trailer for it.
According to various sources, the Clippers have agreed in principle to trade Baron Davis to the Cavaliers for Mo Williams.
As of right now, 12-year veteran Davis is said to be going to the Cavs in exchange for Williams as well as Jamario Moon. Cleveland is said to receive a 2011 first-round pick from Los Angeles along with the veteran point guard, who played at Crossroads in Santa Monica as a prep star and UCLA in college.
Davis has averaged 12.8 points and seven assists for the Clippers this season.