LOS ANGELES–The Clippers remain unbeaten in their last 14 games after defeating Denver 112-100 on Christmas Day at the Staples Center. The numbers don’t lie; The Clippers are now on a 14-game winning streak and own the best record in the league at (26-6).
Having the best record in the NBA doesn’t mean anything at this time of the year because there’s still a lot of basketball to be played. They are only memories for now. But it puts you in a great position to be respected around the league. Respect is something that the Clippers have had to go to war for and it hasn’t been a gentle ride for Clipper Nation. They’ve been known as perennial losers for over decades, but their play on the court this season is getting attention from the rest of the league.
“I didn’t know what anything was like here,” Chris Paul said. “I know what the perception was. If I came on a road trip to play here in L.A. against the Clippers we felt like we were going to win. I just wanted it to be different. Blake and I talk about that all the time. We want guys to know when they come in here and play us they better get some rest the night before. They know they’re going to be in for a dogfight.”
Although the players have a reason to be jovial, the Clippers just want to take it one day at a time. You don’t see cockiness or hear bragging rights coming from players after each victory. They seem to understand that a win is a win, and now it’s on to the next and that’s the best attitude to have and not allow themselves to get caught up in the hype. They’ve their mind set on the bigger picture (playoffs) which isn’t set to begin until May.
“We always talk about the big picture because this is fool’s gold,” Paul said. “You don’t play for the regular season. … We still got to keep building. We’ll know when we’re where we want to be, but we still have a ways to go.”
Yes, the Clippers are having an unexpected successful season thus far. Perhaps the main reason for that success is the bond the team has built in the locker room. It’s a family atmosphere.
Paul is the player behind the master plan. He made sure that all families were introduced to one another. That was the first way of coming together as a family. It didn’t take long for the family affair to kick in. Once they all got at ease with each other- that’s when Paul worked on building trust on and off the court with players and now it feels like a family affair.
“We are like brothers when we are on the road we all go out to eat as a team, “said Paul.
The Clippers are a very unselfish bunch. With eight bona fide scorers on the team, it’s anybody’s night to come up big. But there’s no selfishness on this team and that’s been the catalyst for the Clippers this season. For now, though, the team just wants to cherish the moment and ride out the way they’ve been playing for as long as they can.
“One thing we keep talking about on this team is those seasons don’t come around too often,” Paul said. “That was my third year in the league and I felt so good. I felt I would be in that position every year and have a chance to win every year. No. You’re not on teams like that every year. Trades happen. Injuries happen. That’s why you have to savor these moments and not let them just roll away.”
Tamara is a graduate of Cal State Los Angeles where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tamara is passionate about covering sports. She has covered the NBA and Major League Baseball routinely for the past several years. A Southern California native, Tamara developed her skills as a sports journalist while working for various Los Angeles-based news publications.