The Los Angeles Clippers brought their hot streak into the New Year as they downed the Philadelphia 76ers in their first game of 2016 on Saturday, 130-99. Despite not having All-Star forward Blake Griffin, Los Angeles had six players in double figures as the Clippers won their sixth consecutive game after sweeping a five-game road trip to close out 2015.
Clippers Last Six Games
Dec. 25 at Los Angeles Lakers: W, 94-84
Dec. 26 at Utah Jazz: W, 109-104
Dec. 28 at Washington Wizards: W, 108-91
Dec. 30 at Charlotte Hornets: W, 122-117
Dec. 31 at New Orleans Pelicans: W, 95-89
Jan. 2 vs. Philadelphia 76ers: W, 130-99
Doc Rivers’ squad has picked up the slack since losing Griffin to a torn quad in the streak-sparking Christmas Day win over the Lakers. Griffin is expected to be out at least another week but contributions from both the starting lineup and newly reconfigured bench rotation have allowed the Clippers to sustain the loss of one of the best forwards in basketball.
Multiple players have stepped up in recent games. Chris Paul has a points-assists double-double in four of the last five games, including 15 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday’s win. J.J. Redick has ramped up his production as well, averaging 19 points on 55 percent shooting in 27.5 minutes over the last six games. DeAndre Jordan has continued to provide rebounding and a defensive with five straight double-doubles. Jordan recorded 11 points, 20 rebounds and 3 blocks in a 95-89 win over New Orleans to close out the calendar year on New Year’s Eve and is averaging two blocks per game over the last five.
Bench pieces have come up handy, too, as Jamal Crawford is averaging 15 points over his last four games and Austin Rivers led the team with 26 against Philadelphia. Doc Rivers also relegated Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith to the bench in favor of Pablo Prigioni and Cole Aldrich, who seem to have helped boost the second unit in recent games. Prigioni has played 15 or more in each of the last four games, hounding opposing guards and helping bring the ball up the floor as well as facilitate. Aldrich has seen at least 11 minutes of floor time in each of the last seven games and is averaging five rebounds in 14 minutes over the last five. Aldrich recorded a season-high 13 points on Dec. 28 and had nine points to go with eight rebounds in the win over the 76ers.
As a team, the Clippers have also been utilizing the three-point shot as they miss one of their weapons in the paint. Los Angeles shoots 35.5 percent from long range this season but during the streak, the Clippers have shot 41.4 percent (67-of-162) while holding opponents to 32.2 percent (49-152) from three-point distance. Los Angeles’ efficient three-point shooting has led directly to them scoring over 100 points in four of the six games and averaging 109.6 points during the streak.
The recent surge has reinstated talk of the Clippers being a legitimate contender in the west, especially once Griffin returns, and one of the few teams that could present a challenge to the defending-champion Golden State Warriors. Los Angeles is currently No. 2 in the Pacific Division behind Golden State and No. 4 in the Western Conference playoff standings.
Los Angeles has lost both matchups to Golden State this season and lost three of four to them last season. The last Clipper win over the Warriors was on Christmas Day 2014. Prior to the Warriors’ championship emergence, Los Angeles beat Golden State in seven games in the first round of the playoffs in 2014.
The Clippers go back on the road to visit Portland on Wednesday night before returning to Staples Center for a five-game home stand beginning Jan. 9 against Charlotte and ending Jan. 18 when they host the Rockets.