Clippers’ Unselfishness Key As Winning Streak Continues


Dec 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (right) and center DeAndre Jordan celebrate on the bench in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Hornets at the Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Hornets 93-77. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Those were the words of Harry Truman, the 33rd president of the United States of America.

And boy do they ring true with the way the Los Angeles Clippers are playing.

Historically speaking, the Clippers haven’t had many instances where they were being dubbed a “well-oiled machine.”

Well, history is simply that… history.

The Clippers have matched their franchise record for longest winning streak, with it ballooning up to 11 wins following tonight’s commanding 93-77 win against the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans?).

And speaking of history, a round of applause to Chris Paul who notched his 5,000th career assist tonight, becoming the fifth fastest to reach that milestone in NBA history.

The Hornets were the last team to beat the Clippers a good three and a half weeks ago… and what a distant memory that has become.

The Clippers lost that three-ball frenzy 105-98, letting New Orleans shoot over 50 percent, hit a ridiculous 15 threes (although the Clippers would drain 18) and outrebound the Clippers by four in the process.

Tonight was a completely different ballgame. The Clippers held the Hornets under 39 percent from the field, only gave up a pair of three-pointers (holding Ryan Anderson to 0-of-8 from behind the three-point arc). The Clippers were again outrebounded tonight, but that simply did not matter in tonight’s contest.

Channeling their inner Frank “The Tank” Ricard, the Clippers have gone streaking up through the quad to the gymnasium (with a tip of the cap to those one-upping Oklahoma City Thunder as they’ve now won a dozen in a row).

What has stuck out the most to me over the course of this streak is not the margins of victory or the caliber of the teams they beat. It’s not even about the manner in which they win.

What has popped out to me is something completely unquantifiable: the willingness of every player to be assigned their role, grasp it, embrace it and go all out no matter how many minutes they’re allotted.

Look at Jamal Crawford. Here’s as gifted of a one-on-one player and natural scorer as there is in all of the league, yet Willie Green is currently starting in front of him. Has anybody heard one gripe out of him about this? Nope. Crawford is completely content with being the Clippers’ hired gun coming off the bench and his scoring ability has helped make the Clippers’ (A Tribe Called) bench one of the most formidable group of reserves in the NBA.

How about Matt Barnes? Who would have thought that in an offseason where the Clippers also bring in Grant Hill and Lamar Odom that Barnes would be stealing the spotlight at the small forward position. Barnes has, for lack of a better phrase, played his butt off and you could easily make the case that he deserves more than the nearly 26 minutes he’s getting per game.

There was no way we could overlook Eric Bledsoe. As meteoric of a rise as there has been in the NBA this season, Eric Bledsoe is possibly emerging as the next James Harden: a youthful, high-energy bench player who had taken a couple of seasons to develop into a game-changing player. Heck, the LA Times even listed Bledsoe as the second most underrated thing in Los Angeles sports… trailing only the immortal Vin Scully which is fully acceptable. In terms of player efficiency rating, Bledsoe ranks as the tenth most efficient player in all of the NBA. Number ten! That’s higher than superstars like Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade and his own teammate, Blake Griffin. Despite ranking 35th in the NBA with a +/- of +95, Bledsoe averages just over 18 minutes per game and you don’t hear him complaining about a lack of minutes.

The man who may epitomize the willingness to take a role and thrive in it is Ronny Turiaf. There is never a shortage of energy, hustle and passion when he takes the floor and there’s no better way to say it than his play is contagious.

It’s the ability to put egos aside for the betterment of the team that can allow teams to accomplish special things and that is exactly what Clippers fans are seeing right now.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

At the moment, there’s no disputing that the Clippers are the personification of Harry Truman’s words.

And if they don’t let go of this mentality… watch out. This may just be the beginning.