LA Clippers do something that hasn’t been done since 2004

Paul George (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Paul George (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers entered the win column in a big way on Monday night, and they made some history while doing it.

After their defense let them down in the first two games of the season, the Clippers held Portland to just 86 points on the way to a 116-86 thrashing of the Trail Blazers. The 86 points allowed are the third-lowest a team has scored in the NBA this season.

Even more impressive than the final score was how the Clippers played on the defensive end. Despite missing key defenders in Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard, they forced Portland to commit 30 turnovers in the game. No team has committed that many since the New Orleans Hornets did on December 12, 2004.

Continuing his early tear and MVP bid, Paul George was an absolute menace on the defensive end, registering eight steals in the game. By the way, all eight of those came in the first three quarters.

Only two guys leaguewide secured eight or more steals in a single game last season — Dejounte Murray (8) and T.J. McConnell (10).

The LA Clippers’ defense was a total team effort

Beyond what George did, four other Clippers had two or more steals against Portland — Zubac (2), Batum (2), Winslow (3), and Mann (4). All 12 Blazers that saw the floor on Monday had at least one turnover, with Jusuf Nurkic’s six being a game-high.

The Clippers might be off to a slow rebounding start that will need to improve going forward, but playing defense as well as they did against Portland will cover up for a lot of deficiencies. Their average of 9.8 turnovers per game is already the lowest in the league, and the 20.7 per game they’re forcing is now the second-most in the young season.

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LA will need all the cheap points they can get as they await some returns from injured personnel. If they can continue to tap into what they did on Monday, they’ll be right there with the best in the West.