LOS ANGELES-The Los Angeles Clippers made it look easy in racking up their 50th win of the season, jumping out to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter enroute to a 126-101 win against the Phoenix Suns in front of a sellout crowd at Staples Center. The Clippers’ blowout win was punctuated by six players scoring in double figures.
Center DeAndre Jordan was the high-point man for the Clippers, tallying a game-high of 20 points to go along with his 12 rebounds. Par the course, a great of Jordan’s points came by way of throwing down spectacular dunks that fired up the crowd, adding more highlight footage to the “Lob City” archive.
On a night that saw Blake Griffin scored just nine points and Chris Paul managed to put up 15, the Clippers got strong efforts from their bench and some of their overlooked players. Guard Eric Bledsoe connected on 8 of 14 shots for 17 points. Jamal Crawford poured in 13 points.
But the guy making waves on the court was Willie Green, who scored 15 points, thanks to a high percentage shooting night. With the current playoff logjam at the top of the Western Conference likely going down to the last game of the season, the Clippers still have an outside chance of nailing down the second and third seed going into the postseason.
As they head into the all-Los Angeles showdown on Sunday against the Lakers, the Clippers are currently positioned in the fourth spot out West with the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies sandwiched between them.
In the midst of trying to their minds focused on the postseason, the Clippers accomplished what no other team in the history of the franchise has been able to do: win 50 games in one NBA season. For a franchised that has been beleaguered for decades as one of the worst this year’s version of the Clippers is one of the best in the NBA.
It certainly ranks as tops in the team’s history when it comes to the regular season. Winning 50 games in a season is big for any team in any year. For the Clippers, it is a milestone to be acknowledged.
“It’s big time,” Green said. “It’s a big accomplishment for this organization. It’s a credit to the owner, upper management, staff, trainers, players and everyone involved. It’s the first time it has ever happened here. I’m excited to be part of it.”
Starting the game with a 15-0 run, the Clippers came out playing like a team that wouldn’t be denied a win they’ve been chasing for several games, outscoring the Suns 29-19 in the first quarter. Green scored four points and contributed a block shot during that scoring spurt to help the Clippers get off to the fast start.
After a somewhat lackluster second period, the Clippers officially blew the game open with a 38-point third quarter. The Clippers outscored Phoenix by 18 in the period to put the game to bed before the fourth quarter began.
“For the most part we went out and played a solid game all-around,” Green said. “It’s just a matter of us continuing to do that against the better teams. No disrespect to Phoenix, but we have to do that against the upper echelon type of teams. We’ll definitely take this win. We’ll learn from it and we’ll get ready for the next one.”