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Want to know if the Clippers are for real? Ask the Celtics (who lost to them by 29)

Dec 28, 2012, 3:11 AM EDT

Blake Griffin, Jared Sullinger AP

I’ve done some sports talk radio spots the last few days around the nation and this still seems to be the question on a lot of sports fans lips:

Are the Clippers really that good? Like title contender good?

Why don’t you go ask Doc Rivers or the Celtics? Or Rajon Rondo? Or Paul Pierce? Maybe not Kevin Garnett, that probably doesn’t go as well.

Boston became the latest victim of the Clippers combination of pressure defense and fast break finishing — Los Angeles handed Boston its worst loss of the season, 106-77. It was a thrashing. That is 15 straight wins for the Clippers (against 14 different teams, nearly half the NBA).

This game was over early — Boston opened the game shooting 3-of-11 and those misses became fast break opportunities for the Clippers and suddenly it was 18-4 before TNT even bothered to start showing the game (blame Darren Collison).

For the Clippers, everything was working — Blake Griffin was hitting midrange shots on his way to 15 points. Chris Paul was doing his best Curly Neal impression dribbling through the Celtics defense. Willie Green was draining threes.

And that was before the Clippers even got to their real strength — their bench. Matt Barnes had 21 points and Jamal Crawford 17. Even Lamar Odom was making plays without scoring, racking up 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots.

We all get dazzled by the Clippers highlights but they are running off their defense — Boston shot 40 percent on the night, had 18 turnovers and 7 shots blocked. Each one of those misses or turnovers becomes the Clippers in transition, where their bigs run the floor faster than yours, their guards — CP3 and Eric Bledsoe — make the right decisions with the ball and they have shooters who can fill lanes or run to the corner for a three.

Boston, meanwhile, looked like they didn’t even know what hit them and never seriously threatened in the game. They got the lead down to four in the second quarter, so the Clippers responded with an 8-0 run and you knew what kind of night it would be. Kevin Garnett had 16 points on 11 shots, but every other Celtic struggled (Rajon Rondo was 4-of-121, Paul Pierce 5-of-13, and so on down the line).

A couple of days after the Celtics looked like they had a win they could build on in Brooklyn, they got steamrolled by the hottest team in the NBA. The only Celtic able to slow the Clippers was Jared Sullinger, and he did it by getting a flagrant foul for hitting Griffin around the neck.

Boston, now 14-14, need to just put this behind them and move on.

So maybe don’t ask them if the Clippers are for real. The evidence is in the final score.

  1. lakerryan - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    I knew they were bad but I didn’t know rondo shot 121 times. Geez.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      he shot under 1%, pretty bad stuff.

      Kurt your the best!

      • zerole00 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        I don’t think he even bothered to run it to the other court, he just Hail Mary’ed it from the Celtic’s basketball.

      • zerole00 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        I don’t think he even bothered to run it to the other court, he just Hail Mary’ed it from the Celtic’s basket.

  2. limonadamas - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    What an amazing run. What a bench. It’ll be really interesting to see what this team can do in the playoffs, when rotations shorten and super-deep benches become less of an advantage. But I wouldn’t bet against them if CP3 is healthy come playoff time.

    True, diehard Clipper fans who’ve supported the team since the Loy Vaught days (i.e. not the bandwagon Clipper fans) are among the best in the NBA. As a Laker fan who’s friends with a lot of Clipper fans, I have to say that this couldn’t be happening to a more deserving fanbase (or a less-deserving owner).

  3. doublezero74 - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    That team is ultra deep. That’s going to serve them well keeping guys fresh for may and June. They steamrolled my Celtics but I can’t even be mad, that team played hungry and executed everything perfectly. Tough to beat

  4. fanofevilempire - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Boston is old and slow………………………

    oh boy!

    • andyhr17 - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Go away, Bozo2.0

  5. davidly - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    It was nice to be able to see the top two records in the West play last night. Barkley commented at half-time that he wasn’t sold on the Clippers because of their half-court sets. I found this interesting because I had thought the same thing after watching the Thunder squeak one out at home against a team you’d think they might have throttled right.

    This, combined with our host an author of this post’s recent comments that he didn’t see the Clippers getting past Ok City just yet, made the back to back games instructive in just what we got to look forward to.

    Both teams would seem to get stuck in iso-situations whenever the opposing team gets back on D. But then again, a lot of the great teams in history have displayed such tendencies, yet come through when they needed to.

    Based on the season so far–even using last night’s performances as a microscope of sorts–it would seem that the Clippers and Spurs might be the cream of the crop (of the cream of the crop) in the West and have the inside track to playoff success: Depth, team D, and, the (not to be sneezed at) team assist/TO ratio.

  6. progress2011 - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    I’m calling it NOW !!!

    The Clips have the DEEPEST roster AND bench in the league, being orchestrated by the best PG in the league.

    IF- they can stay healthy
    IF- they continue to share the ball
    IF- they continue to gain confidence

    I can’t see any other team beating them !


    • brutl - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:50 AM


      • dannymac17 - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        my exact thoughts reading that post “IM CALLING IT NOW”

        thanks for calling it 30 games into the season.

  7. andyhr17 - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Super athletic deep team vs. older veteran team playing on the west coast that is (hopefully) saving what’s left in their tank for May and June. This was a disastrous game waiting to happen for the C’s. Results are not surprising at all.

    • dannymac17 - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      they arent surprising cause of how the clippers played, not cause of the circumstances around the celtics.

  8. paulhargis53 - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Andy: Yup, that’s Bozosforall, alright.
    bozo was his alias for lakerluver.

    Hes gotten run off this site on a rail under those other monikers, now he’s onto this one. Pretty pathetic.

    The guy is near 40 years old and behaving like a child. oh boy!

  9. mat9844 - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I give coach Vinny Del Negro a lot of credit for taking these very talented, individual , players and making them into one cohesive unit that thinks, acts, and plays as one. You watch these guys and it’s almost like they read each other’s minds. They’re having a lot of fun on the court, and I’m having just as much watching them win.

  10. jerdogthompson - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Like them or not, you must respect them.

    What I found particularly piquant last night was Sir Charles saying “oh when the game settles into a slower half court setting in the playoffs Clippers don’t stand a chance”. I love Charles but that was an Asinine comment. Their half court defense is setting them up for fast break points. Recall, with less talent this team beat OKC 3 outta 4 last year. They lost the first in OKC on a buzzer beater that CP3 will make 8 outta 10 times. They only got swept by the Spurs because BG & CP3 were completely banged up after Memphis. The starters have sat out the ENTIRE 4th quarter of roughly 35% of games this year. Let that sink in for a bit. Last night was no different.

    None of this matters until June, however, Vegas odds makers are ratcheting up the Clippers chance at a championship weekly. What’s the old adage? Put your money where you’re mouth is.

  11. zerole00 - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Don Sterling will find some way to mess this up. He doesn’t deserve a good team like this.

    • dannymac17 - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      thats why hes mostly kept his mouth shut. He knows this is his only chance before he dies.

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      It’s really unfortunate that such a talented, exciting team is happening to such a terrible person. It would be easier to be happy for the Clippers if it weren’t for Sterling.

  12. yousuxxors - Dec 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Knicks clippers championship this year book it

  13. stickesabado - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    can’t even invest much energy, time, or emotion into the NBA, anymore….. it’s like the new WWE… and I’m just gonna vent on my opinion of the NBA in general….

    watching any game just makes me sick to my stomach.. I was the dude who would tell people if you don’t like basketball/NBA don’t watch, because I hated hearing the whining, but year-year I feel what people were telling me…

    Have to say the Clips are playing damn good… can’t even knock them.. I have nothing against them

    I will however, say that the NBA / officiating (and it has always been like this, i know, but to me, it’s ruining the enjoyment of the game) is insane… so shady… I know it has ALWAYS been bad, but this year (and I say this every year it seems) is worst than the last…

    and not even last night in general, but I will watch Clippers games (from a neutral mindstate) and can’t help but think without all the calls they get NIGHT IN & OUT that streak would have ended at like 7 games… last night they just went to work, but there were still some whackkkkkk phantom calls…

    I JUST WISH THEY WOULD LET THEM PLAY BALL LIKE MEN!!!!!!!…. that’s all… stop these touch fouls.. or letting certain people body up on a player or hand check but if another player does the same thing they blow the whistle so quick… and there are a few teams who benefit from this, and it’s going to happen, I get it… but do the league/officials have to make it so obvious….

    and they can’t even bump a dude without it being bloody murder anymore., guys acting like they just got their teeth knocked out or nose broken.. WTF…I mean yeah it benefits them so good stuff, why not if you’re being rewarded but to me it’s like… we pay way too much money to be watching this obvious crooked bs…. get you’re a$$ off the ground unless you’re hurt… I dno Like i said it betters the team if it works, but to me that’s some female stuff right there..

    and then you have a play like the flagrant 1 last night on Griffin….. yeah Sullinger didn’t make a play on the ball but how could he when Griffin is 1-2 feet above him soaring to the basket about to put him on: a poster, ESPN top 10, and every other sports/highlight show for the rest of the week, to get clowned…. what’s dude supposed to do just take it? and he did all he could to keep him from landing hard… so then right there, that’s 2 and the ball… on a good hard foul….Makes no sense… but then again everything is just becoming soft these days (see NFL and legal hits they keep flagging/fining players for)

    the clippers are good, we have to recognize them as a contender, but straight up… they get pampered…

    Will someone ever call Griffin for over the back??? that’s my million dollar question…

    • dannymac17 - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      the clippers get pampered????

      funniest thing i read all day

      • stickesabado - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        yeah… someone needs to tell Griffin he’s 250+ pounds, stop acting like he has nothing underneath him and was shot out of a cannon every time a 200lb SG puts a body on him… lol… I’m not trying to argue, and like I said I don’t care either way the Clippers are nice, and I realize Griffin does take a lot of punishment as well, and I respect him for how he handles it when someone will take a cheap shot on him…. I like his game, but when it comes to that, man up and save that acting for his hilarious KIA commercials… or stop calling it so he will stop doing it… that’s all… NBA needs to cut this ticky tack stuff out of the game, and tell teams (clippers) to stop acting like they never foul when they can drive to the lane out of control, initiate contact on the defender, who goes straight up, and get the call… Matt Barnes & Eric Bledsoe the only two who play tough and don’t do that whiny floppy stuff

  14. jerdogthompson - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Cosanostra, how’s about biting my arse? Let go of the past meat. Just because he’s richer than u doesn’t mean u need to hate.

  15. gmsingh - Dec 29, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Is it more of a case of the Clippers being for real or a case of the Celtics not being for real?

    • mazblast - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      Both, but the media won’t concede that the Celtics are past it and the Clippers rule LA until David Stern orders the Lakers into The Finals.

      • gmsingh - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:51 AM

        I think Stern is just fine with the Clippers where they’re at. He wants to boost up superstars like LeBron and Blake Griffin because they make the league money–he doesn’t give a sh^t about anything else.

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