With 11 straight victories, Clippers feel like winners

Now they go into games expecting to win, Chris Paul says. A win Friday night against the Sacramento Kings would be one for the record books.

December 20, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Willie Green celebrate late in the Clippers' win over the Hornets on Wednesday.
Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Willie Green celebrate late in the Clippers'… (Paul Buck / EPA )

Losing is not something that even enters the minds of the Clippers these days.

That's what an 11-game winning streak can do for a team.

One more victory against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night at Staples Center would give this Clippers group the honor of having the longest winning streak in franchise history, one more than the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.

"Man, we go into every game expecting to win," Chris Paul said after practice Thursday. "I don't care where we're playing at, who we're playing against."

Paul talked about how the mentality has changed around the Clippers. Now they know they can win.

"You can see it with our guys even before we run out on the court," Paul said. "When we go into the game every night, it's not necessarily about the other team. It's about what we do."

What the Clippers are doing, Paul said, is playing the game "the right way."

But Paul said they also realize how "early it is" in the NBA season and that there are regular-season games to be played until April 17.

"We obviously have been a team of streaks," said Paul, referring to the Clippers' six-game winning streak, four-game losing streak and the current winning streak. "We haven't like won one, lost one, won one, lost one.

"Everything has been streaky. At some point — hopefully not [soon] — we're going to lose again. But we've just got to keep this even keel, keep this same intensity."

Getting defensive

Paul said the Clippers now have a "defensive mentality" and that has played a big role in their success.

During their current 11-game winning streak, the Clippers have given up more than 100 points only once.

They are ranked fourth in the NBA in points allowed (92.44 per game) and fourth in field-goal percentage (42.6%).

And the Clippers are ranked first in steals (10.56). Paul leads the NBA in steals (2.52), with reserve Eric Bledsoe (1.48) ranked 24th despite limited playing time, Blake Griffin (1.44) is 28th and Matt Barnes (1.33) is 32nd.

That shows how active the Clippers are on defense.

They also are ranked seventh in blocked shots (6.24), led by center DeAndre Jordan's 1.64, 17th-best in the league.

"We've won a lot of games scoring a lot of points and we've also won games where we had to grind it out," Paul said. "And I think that's what it's about."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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