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Clippers win a laugher against Warriors, 105-91

The locker room mood is upbeat after improving L.A. rolls to its seventh victory in 10 games. Blake Griffin has 23 points and 12 rebounds, his team-record 23rd consecutive double-double.

January 09, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Clippers guard Eric Gordon is fouled by Warriors center Dan Gadzuric on a driving layup in the second half Sunday.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon is fouled by Warriors center Dan Gadzuric on… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)

There was laughter in the Clippers' locker room Sunday afternoon.

Nothing unusual about that — the team has been a punch line for most of its existence.

Only this time no one was laughing at the Clippers. They were laughing with them.

The latest example of just how expectations may be changing for the team was Sunday's 105-91 win over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, a rout that was all but over by halftime.

"We're a unit out there," guard Baron Davis said. "I always believed that this team could make those strides. And we can continue to make strides.

"I know that we can get a whole lot better. This is just the beginning."

The turnaround, Davis said, started a week before Christmas, when the Clippers lugged a four-game losing streak into Detroit, then cleared the air in a closed-door meeting.

"We had a good team meeting. And everybody voiced how they felt about the team and the direction that we wanted to move," Davis said. "Everybody's kind of looked at themselves in the mirror, and we all committed to what we could bring to this team to make this team better."

It was kind of a potluck program. But obviously it's worked because the Clippers have won seven of 10 games since then. Not even the Lakers have done better over that span.

Which isn't to say the Clippers are ready to overtake the two-time defending NBA champions. They are, after all, still 12 games under .500. But it's a start.

"We're getting there," said center DeAndre Jordan, who had 13 rebounds, three blocked shots and, with nine points in 31 minutes, finished just a point shy of a double-double. "It's going to take time. But we're just sticking with it and trying to get better. We're all on the same page.

"We know what it takes to win games."

Sunday it took an 18-4 blitz to close out the first half, one that turned a 44-44 tie into a 14-point halftime lead. Davis helped key the spurt with seven points, a steal and a blocked shot en route to a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists.

Blake Griffin finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, setting a franchise record with his 23rd consecutive double-double, while Eric Gordon scored a team-high 25 points.

If the Clippers hadn't gone cold in the final six minutes, scoring just three points, the win would have been even more resounding. As it is, though, the team has won consecutive games by a combined 27 points and, after a 1-13 start, has gone 11-11 in its last 22 starts.

"It was a good team effort," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "A nice team win."

But Del Negro wasn't laughing when he said it wasn't enough.

"We had too many turnovers and I didn't like how we finished the game," he said. "It's a long season where you go through ups and downs. We have a lot of young players developing, and we are not nearly as consistent as we need to be on both sides of the court.

"We've got to . . . continually grow and learn from this process."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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