CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 11: Teammates Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers Ryan Gomes #15 and Kenyon Martin #2 listen to Chris Paul #3 during a timeout against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 11, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
At 17-8, the Clippers matched the 1974-1975 Buffalo Braves for the best start in franchise history.
The Los Angeles Clippers faced tough tests last week, and they passed with flying colors. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin led the team to three wins in four road games and the club is off to the best start in franchise history at 17-8, tied with the 1974-1975 Buffalo Braves.
The week began in Orlando, where the Clippers overcame a 15-point deficit to beat Dwight Howard and the Magic in double overtime. The win snapped a nine-game losing streak to Orlando for the Clippers, the latest losing streak dragon slayed by Paul, along with wins in Denver and Utah in the last two weeks.
But all was not great about the win in Orlando, as guard Chauncey Billups tore his left Achilles in the second half, and was lost for the season.
|Field Goal %:||44.0%|
|True Shooting %:||53.3%|
|Monday: Clippers 107, Magic 102 (OT)|
|Wednesday: Cavaliers 99, Clippers 92|
|Friday: Clippers 78, 76ers 77|
|Saturday: Clippers 111, Bobcats 86|
In their first game without Billups, the Clippers lost in Cleveland, snapping a four-game road winning streak that was one shy of the franchise record.
But the Clippers rebounded in Philadelphia on Friday, thanks to Paul. The game wasn't particularly pretty, as the Clippers shot just 38.8% from the field, but Paul rescued the team with a game-winning shot in the final seconds.
The win in Philadelphia was the first win for the Clippers while shooting under 40% since December 5, 2009, and was just their 17th win since the 1985-1986 season while shooting under 39%.
The Clippers trailed by 12 points against the 76ers, and the win gave the Clippers four road wins this season in games they trailed by 10 or more points. That total equaled the number of such wins for the team in the last four seasons combined.
On Saturday in Charlotte, the Clippers had their only back-to-back set of the road trip, but there is no better team to face on the second night of a back-to-back group than the Charlotte Bobcats, owners of the worst record in the NBA. The Clippers did what good teams do, obliterating Charlotte and getting the starters rest at the same time.
The Clippers are battling the San Antonio Spurs for the second seed in the Western Conference, and looking every bit like a team that could make a lot of noise in the playoffs. With the way Paul and company are playing, that is becoming less and less surprising by the day.
Here are some individual numbers for the week:
- Chris Paul: 21.8 points per game, 9.5 assists per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 2.0 steals per game, 59.1% true shooting percentage, 24-for-24 from the free throw line
- Blake Griffin: 20.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 55.6 TS%, four double-doubles in four games, 81.5% from the free throw line (22 for 27)
- Caron Butler: 14.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 58.9 TS%
- Randy Foye: 12.3 ppg, 54.8 TS% in three games as a starter
- Kenyon Martin: 16 points, 14 rebounds in 59 minutes in his first three games with the Clippers, 48.1 TS%.
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