Dec 31, 2012, 1:59 AM EDT
They say you make your own luck, but in the month of December, the Clippers have had little need to manufacture much of it. They’ve blown out most of their opponents, coasting to victory easily and often sitting their starters the entire fourth quarter. For a franchise that many thought was legitimately cursed once upon a time, it’s been interesting to see the Clippers control their own fate without interruptions from the basketball gods.
And although they haven’t been dependent on luck, the Clippers knew what to do once a bit of it came their way on Sunday night against the Utah Jazz.
Clippers starting small forward Caron Butler averages just 9.5 points a game, but the Clippers didn’t so much as blink when Butler’s shots kept going in. Chris Paul (9 assists) fed Butler again and again, and Butler’s jumpers kept tickling the twine.
Butler is just about the only player who could score 29 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from behind the arc…and then not play a single minute in the fourth quarter. That’s the luxury of depth — the Clippers can ride the hot hand, and then go away from it and still not starve for points. On the Clippers roster, there seems to be a player for every situation, and for every need.
When the need was to finally put an end to Al Jefferson‘s (30 points) dominance on the left block, DeAndre Jordan got the call late. Jordan’s free throw percentage of 40 percent is virtually a “foul me” sign slapped on his back late in games. But with Jefferson overpowering every other option the Clippers threw at him, yet again, it was Jordan tasked with stopping him.
When Jazz head coach Ty Corbin eventually countered with the Hack-A-Shaq technique on Jordan, the Clippers lead began to feel a little bit more vulnerable. When the ball is in the hands of Paul, all is safe. But when the ball is in the hands of a 40 percent free throw shooter? It’s skill against luck. One you put your faith in, the other you hope for.
But with Jordan at the line, something funny happened. Again. For the fourth time in two games.
Instead of clank, DeAndre Jordan went bank.
Jordan’s bank shot free throw was one of five makes in a row that propelled the Clippers to a 107-96 win, just when the winning streak was beginning to look like it was ready to end for the second time in two games.
Instead, the Clippers will take their 17-game winning streak into the new year. And although that streak will be subject to a possible bad break or an unlucky bounce, the Clippers perfect month of December, one of only three in NBA history, will go into the record books where lady luck can no longer reach it.
Lance Stephenson says Pacers setting deadline to re-sign forced him to look elsewhere in free agency
Oct 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
It’s possible Indiana did this on purpose.
Oct 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Filmed in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, “Becoming” includes rarely seen footage from LeBron James’ earliest days in sports.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT
Noel isn’t ready to stop that much power going to the rim yet.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT
Spurs big man just won’t stop producing great seasons
Oct 23, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
That’s real artistry by the Heat star
Oct 23, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Why is Houston’s general manager downplaying his own team’s success?
Oct 23, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT
Sterling had previously dropped a fraud charge against the NBA.
Oct 23, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT
The two-time MVP continues to battle nerve damage in his back.
Oct 23, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
A rare look at Popovich’s lighter side.
Oct 23, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
Bad news for #JugLife devotees.
Oct 23, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
Smart wins the “job” over one-time frontrunner Evan Turner
Oct 23, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
He’s already one of the best players in Philadelphia.
Oct 23, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
When you lose the best player walking the face of the earth, your team gets worse.
Oct 23, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Love reflects on his summer and the blockbuster trade in a new “Players Tribune” essay.
Oct 23, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT
It looks like a NASA launch center… but it’s a good thing for the league.
Oct 23, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT
Cavalier star forward still adjusting to playing with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving
Oct 23, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
Retired jersey went to New Orleans when team moved
Oct 23, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT
76ers point guard originally given 5-to-50-game timeline
Oct 23, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT
Suns guard sends Clippers reserve flying
Oct 23, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT
Lakers president has strong words for Kobe detractors after ESPN report
- Steve Nash to miss entire 2014-15 season with ongoing back injuries 42
- Jeanie Buss: ‘Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser’ 59
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Memphis Grizzlies 7
- Five top candidates for NBA Rookie of the Year 30
- NBA GMs surveyed predict LeBron will win MVP, Spurs will repeat as champions 31
- Owners vote down NBA Draft lottery reform, system to stay same for this season 47
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 preview: Houston Rockets 26
- Kobe Bryant responds to ESPN article with basically a shrug (VIDEO) 23