With a single game left on December’s schedule, the LA Clippers are looking for a perfect month. They have one remaining December game, a rematch against Utah, Sunday, at home at Staples. In NBA history, only twice has a team gone 16-0 in a single month, and while the Clippers have now won their last 16 games, the first in that run was in November. Should they get through that one with the streak intact, the first week of the new year will be a challenge, with games at Denver and at Golden State followed by home matches against the Lakers and then the Warriors, all over five days.
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|While Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford have deservedly received the lion’s share of credit for the Clippers’ play this season, equally vital has been the steady and also sometimes spectacular play of former UCLA Bruin, former Laker, and “NBA Journeyman”, Matt Barnes. His all around play has been a vital force for the team, as seen in the final seconds of last nights’ victory over Utah, when his sterling defense on Randy Foye in the final seconds prevented Foye from getting a decent shot that could have tied or won the game for the Jazz. Barnes averaged only 22 minutes and 7.8 points per|
game for the Lakers last year, but over the Clippers’ 16 straight wins, he has played 26 minutes per game and put in an average of 13.3 points per game, while also playing great defense, especially when it really counts, like last night.
Barnes is a big part of the two elements of the Clippers’ team that are major reasons why they are where there are and as opposed to the Lakers and where they are – great team defense and the best bench in the NBA. Besides Crawford and Barnes, Eric Bledsoe and over the winning streak, also Lamar Odom, have made major contributors. As the season progresses, they can also hopefully look forward to the return of Chauncey Billups and maybe even some playing time from Grant Hill.
Also, we found it very interesting and revealing about the state of NBA basketball, especially in Los Angeles, that during the closing minutes of the Lakers-Knicks national broadcast on ABC on Christmas Day, the network mavens chose to show back-to-back commercials for an insurance company and then a car maker, each featuring a Clipper, first Chris Paul and then Blake Griffin. That would have been unthinkable throughout the history of the two franchises, until now. In fact, before Griffin, when did ANY Clipper ever even have a national commercial?