Clippers Dial up the Pressure

Blake Griffin rolled to another big outing as he scored 24 points against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center on Thursday, Jan. 22. The Clippers rolled as well, picking up a 123-84 win. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/

LOS ANGELES-The later the NBA season gets the more coach Doc Rivers’ teams ramp up the defensive efforts and pump up the intensity. That’s just Rivers’ trademark as a coach. It’s not about how you start, but how you finish. Rivers’ coaching philosophy made fans believe in the Orlando Magic. He took the Boston Celtics to multiple NBA Finals appearances.

Now with the Los Angeles Clippers for a third season, Rivers has embedded the good people in Los Angeles with the thought and belief that winning an NBA title is not beholden to the team’s Staples Center rivals-the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dunking time: DeAndre Jordan throws down a dunk against the Brooklyn Nets as the Clippers blew out the visitors 123-84 at Staples Center. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/

Rivers usually has his teams peaking into formation right around All-Star weekend, and they tend to end the season with a flourish when it comes to simple dynamics such as chemistry, locking up opponents from and executing offensively. After watching the Clippers blow by the Brooklyn Nets in what was supposed to be a scheduled NBA game on Thursday, Jan. 22, Rivers’ team looked a smooth as they have all season. The tornado-like ferocity the Clippers played with against the Nets, with superstars Beyonce and Jay-Z sitting courtside, turned the contest into a 123-84 beatdown that resembled practice at the park.

Directing traffic: Chris Paul looks to distribute the ball against the Brooklyn Nets in a game the Los Angeles Clippers won handily, 123-84. Paul finished the game with six points in the game but added 17 assists. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/

What did this win mean for the Clippers? Well, it means the team has a nice little win streak going. It means the Clippers, after the victory, are 15 games above playing .500 ball. It means that the Clippers look a bit more cohesive than when the season first began when they got out of the starting blocks looking every bit trying to find their way from a not-so-impressive 6-4 start. The win against the Nets was the Clippers ninth in 12 games with about two handful of games to go before NBA All-Star Weekend. Outside of the hiccup defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 16 at home, the Clippers have picked up some impressive victories recently against Dallas, Portland and Boston along the way.

Excuse me: Blake Griffin soars to the basket for two of his 24 points against the Brooklyn Nets in Thursday’s NBA action. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/

The win against the Nets was not so much about the margin of victory but more about the way the Clippers handed the whipping lesson to the visitors from Brooklyn. By halftime, the Clippers had pretty much sewed up the win after scoring 34 points in the first quarter and dropping another 36 in the second period. By halftime, the game was essentially over as the Clippers held a 70-37 advantage. That’s a 33-point lead at halftime.

This is what used to happen to the Clippers back in the day long before Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan era began. Currently second in the Western Conference Pacific Division, the Clippers would be the No.6 seed if the playoffs were to start today. Thankfully, they are not, so the Rivers and the Clippers figure to improve on that standing before the season winds down. Getting and staying on a winning roll before the NBA All-Star break certainly won’t hurt.

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