Post Up: Seventeen Straight
Who will beat the Clippers?
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Jeremy Tyler with the huge dunk to kick off your day:
Detroit combatted Monta Ellis’ 30-point, 9-assist effort with a balanced offensive attack and clutch free throw shooting to beat the Bucks. The Pistons beat up the Bucks inside, outrebounding them 48-33 and outscoring them 60-38 in the paint behind Greg Monroe’s 14 and 10 and Jason Maxiell’s 10 and 10. After dominating the first half, the Pistons were up by 14 in the third before Milwaukee cut it to seven heading into the fourth. The Bucks kept chipping away and with under two minutes to go, Ersan Ilyasova (24 points, 5 boards) nailed a three to tie the score at 92. On Milwaukee’s next possession, Ellis hit a tough fadeaway baseline jumper to give his team the first lead of the game. But Tayshaun Prince (2o points) hit a hook shot to tie the game at 94. Ellis missed his next shot and Maxiell recovered the rebound and called timeout. Luc Mbah a Moute fouled Prince following the timeout and Prince stepped to the line and sank both with 10 seconds remaining to put the Pistons up two and ice the game. Brandon Jennings finished with 9 points on 3-12 shooting while Andre Drummond shot 4-4 for 8 points and grabbed 7 boards in just under 20 minutes.
San Antonio crushed Dallas thanks to Tim Duncan’s 18 points and 10 boards and Tony Parker’s 21, 9 dimes and 5 boards for their fifth straight win. The Spurs led wire-to-wire and shot 50 percent from the field while holding Dallas to 40 percent shooting and a putrid 6 percent from three. Dallas cut the lead to five in the third quarter but Manu Ginobili (20 points, 6-12 shooting) took over at the end of the third. First he hit a three with the shot clock winding down then hit another Hail Mary three to push the lead to ten. With the game clock expiring in the third, Ginobili hit a last second shot that took the wind out of Dallas’ sails and made it a 12-point game heading into the fourth. In the final quarter, the Spurs poured it on and outscored Dallas 29-16 to defeat them in blowout fashion for the second straight Sunday. Darren Collison led the Mavs with 18 points and 8 assists while Dirk struggled, finishing with 8 points on 3-9 shooting, 5 boards and 3 blocks.
The Celtics are not a good basketball team right now and suffered their third straight embarrassing road loss by falling to the Kings last night. Isaiah Thomas dropped 27, John Salmons scored 23 off the pine, Jason Thomas scored 20 and Boogie Cousins notched a 12-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double and Sacramento has now won six of their last seven home games. With five minutes to go in the game, Thomas put the game away for good. After James Johnson, Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons each hit three-pointers, Thomas hit a three while being fouled by Pierce and hit the free throw for Sacramento’s second four-point play of the half and put the Kings up by 18. After waxing the Nets on Christmas Day, Boston has been outscored by a combined 69 points in their last three games against the Clippers, Warriors and Kings. Ouch. Paul Pierce scored 20 and passed Adrian Dantley on the All-Time scoring list. He now sits at 23rd place.
After last night’s win over Utah, the Clippers finished the month of December 16-0 (the third team in NBA history to finish a month undefeated) and have now won 17 straight. Chris Paul is a sure-fire MVP candidate and the Clips are easily the deepest team in the League. The question now is, who is going to knock this team off and end their unbeaten streak?
Against Utah, Caron Butler led the scoring with 29 points (hitting all six of his three-point attempts) while CP3 did his usual thing with 19 points, 9 dimes, 5 steals and only 2 turnovers. The Jazz kept it close in the third, ending the quarter on a 17-8 run, to pull within three heading into the fourth. But Jamal Crawford scored 11 of his 19 in the fourth quarter and was instrumental to LA’s 10-5 run that helped the Clips push the lead back to eight. Utah kept battling and cut it back to four after Derrick Favors’ bucket with six minutes to go. The Jazz slowed the game down and fouled DeAndre Jordan on multiple possessions but the big man responded, going 4-4 from the stripe down the stretch. The Clippers held the Jazz to just one field goal over the final three and a half minutes to put this one to bed.