With their nationally-televised Christmas Day game just around the corner, the Clippers’ 2012-2013 team is making history and causing ruckus throughout the NBA. The 97-85 win over the Sacramento Kings Friday night at the Staples Center was history in the making for the Clippers. They won their 12th game in a row something we have never witnessed, until now. It looks like they’re playing with a sense of urgency, and that urgency looks to be to try and make it to the NBA Finals.
The Clippers have added all the pieces to the puzzle to compete. There are a couple of teams in the NBA’s Western Conference that are playing remarkable basketball, but the Clippers deserve a loud round of applause. Unless you have taken the time-out to do your history on the Clippers -you won’t be able to fathom what I’m speaking about. The Clippers now have 20 wins in 26 games, something that has never happened for this franchise.
As a matter of fact, 4 years ago the Clippers record was 19-63. Star forward Blake Griffin remembers that season very well.
”I remember the year I got drafted. The season before that they had only 19 wins. So what we’ve accomplished so far is great,” Griffin said. ”But the best thing about it for me is being a part of something that’s much bigger than Chris or I. It takes everybody from top to bottom – the GM, the coaching staff, the players, everybody. And from day one since I’ve been here, everybody’s been serious about changing.”
Griffin and point guard Chris Paul have a lot to be proud of. Those two players alone have added so much leverage to the Clippers organization. It’s been a team effort winning these ball games, but the team performance wouldn’t be this good if it wasn’t for those two players. The dynamic duo’s competitiveness and drive for the game makes their teammates play at a high level.
With Griffin and Paul as the team’s core, the two players have brought undeniable talent to this roster. Players are signing up with the Clippers because of the electrifying tandem. And because of all that talent being assembled together, the Clippers have high expectations. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said the team still has to be consistent to keep playing well.
”You have to have players,” Del Negro said. “You have to have talent. You have to have guys believing in what you’re doing, and finding ways to win and being consistent. I think the guys are learning and understanding what it takes to play at a high level consistently. It’s a good thing to have a target on your back, but that also brings a responsibility to play at a high level as often as possible.”
Who would have ever guessed that Paul and Griffin would be put in a position to win a championship with the Los Angeles Clippers? It’s still early in the season and they can only continue to flourish down the road. The Clippers used to be a joke in the NBA. Teams could look at their schedule and mark down an automatic win before they even played the Clippers.
That’s just how harsh things were years ago. But nowadays when teams look at their schedule and see they have to play the Clippers, they might want to work on a game plan at least four days ahead of time. The Clippers are becoming more and more intimidating to play against with each passing game.
It’s still too early in the season to celebrate the double-digit wins, but you can appreciate the physical and mental effort the team is giving at the moment. The only concern the Clippers should have is not peaking too soon. If they can continue to play with this much strength and power until May, they can control their own destiny.