Out with the old: Clips take streak into new year

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 31, 2012 at 3:11 am •  Published: December 31, 2012
Advertisement
;

Butler sat in the fourth quarter after playing "out of his mind" as Griffin put it in the opening quarter, when the veteran scored 17 points and hit five of his six 3-pointers.

"It's a tribute to everybody in here," Griffin said. "Everybody has been a huge part one night or the other. It's a selfless attitude the team has taken on. This is the most fun I've ever had playing basketball."

Against the Jazz, Crawford keyed a 10-5 run to open the fourth, highlighted by a 3-pointer and a fast break pull-up jumper that helped the Clippers extend their lead to 89-81. Paul and Griffin didn't join the second unit until 5:55 remained and Utah had closed within four on a basket by Derrick Favors.

That was as close as the Jazz got. The Clippers made 9 of 10 free throws down the stretch and their defense held Utah to one field goal in the final 3:38.

The Clippers have been winning without injured veterans Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill.

"We really haven't had an opportunity to see what it looks like," Paul said of the entire team.

Still, they've won 11 of their 17 games by 12 points or more, and their defense has allowed 100 points just three times during the streak. They've been winning so handily that Paul and Griffin rarely have to play in the fourth quarter. Both are averaging career low minutes in the final period this season.

"We expect to win every time we step out on the court," Butler said. "We have a good mixture of young guys and veterans, and we do a good job of policing ourselves. Coach lets us control the environment. We do a great job being unselfish on and off the court."

After putting away the Jazz, Butler headed out to join his teammates at a dinner organized by Ryan Hollins. And no, the streak wasn't going to be part of the conversation.

"It's something that kind of keeps happening," Griffin said. "It's not something we talk about."