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Clippers still elevating with another victory

They stay on the franchise-record fast track, breaking away from the Nuggets for their 14th straight win, 112-100, and claiming the league's best record.

December 25, 2012|By Broderick Turner
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This winning streak has delivered the Clippers to a place few could have imagined.

The Clippers have the best record in the NBA.

To repeat, the Clippers have the best record in the entire NBA.

They got to this 22-6 record by extending their franchise-best winning streak to 14 consecutive games, a 112-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night at Staples Center another of the wins along the way.

The victory allowed the Clippers to move a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City (21-6) after the Thunder lost to the Miami Heat earlier on Christmas Day.

"It's nice," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said about having the best record in the NBA. "But it's Christmas. We've got a long way to go and lot of improving to make."

It was the play of the Clippers' bench again that put them in this position.

Jamal Crawford led the way, scoring a game-high 22 points.

Matt Barnes was right behind Crawford, scoring 20 points.

Lamar Odom did the all-around work, scoring six points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out four assists.

Eric Bledsoe had 12 points.

"I think it's just the coach having confidence in us," Barnes said. "A lot of teams, when you go to the bench, you're just trying to bide minutes for your starters. But if we're playing well, he'll leave us out there, and I think that gives us confidence to go out there and play our game."

Because of the bench play, the Clippers' starters got to rest the entire fourth quarter yet again.

But while they were in the game, Chris Paul had 14 points, eight assists and three steals in 31 minutes 37 seconds.

Blake Griffin had 13 points, six rebounds and six assists in 25:45 and Willie Green had a season-high-tying 11 points on four-for-six shooting, three for four on three-point shots.

The Clippers went to a zone defense in the second quarter just to change things up, and it seemed to catch the Nuggets off guard.

JaVale McGee took a bad shot, which led to a run-out for the Clippers that ended with a Barnes lob for a Griffin dunk.

Back in the zone again, Griffin and Paul double-teamed Ty Lawson, forcing the point guard into a jump ball after he was tied up by Griffin.

Griffin had no trouble winning the tip, giving the Clippers another possession.

This time, Paul found Griffin rolling to the basket for an emphatic two-handed dunk and a 58-42 Clippers lead late in the second quarter.

Those kind of spurts allowed the Clippers to open a 20-point lead in the second quarter.

Those kind of spurts allowed the Clippers take command with a blazing 70.8% shooting from the field in the second quarter, 100% (three for three) from three-point range.

Again, the Clippers' bench took the control in the second quarter.

By the half, the Clippers' reserves had accounted for 38 of the team's season-high 67 halftime points.

"We had a big second quarter," Del Negro said. "We took control of the game there."

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