Clippers top Jazz for 17th straight victory
Updated: 2013-01-01 07:53
By Agence France-Presse in Los Angeles (China Daily)
Caron Butler drained six three-point shots and scored 29 points on Sunday as the Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up a perfect December with a 107-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers stretched their club-record winning streak to 17 games. They also joined the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers and the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs as the only NBA teams to go 16-0 in a calendar month.
"We don't talk about it, it just happens," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said of the winning streak. "It's a tribute to everybody. It's unreal how many different ways we've won."
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, who played on that '95-96 Spurs team, said it was important the streak does not obscure the ultimate goal of making a title run in the playoffs.
"Obviously, the streak is great. Don't get me wrong," he said. "But we're thinking bigger than the streak.
"We're thinking about the improvement throughout the season, handling the ups and downs."
On Sunday, it was Butler's turn to lead the way. He made all six of his attempts from three-point range and shot 10-of-14 from the floor overall.
Chris Paul contributed 19 points with nine assists and five steals and Jamal Crawford added 19 points off the bench.
Utah's Al Jefferson had 30 points that included 13 in the third quarter, when the Jazz mounted a rally that ultimately failed.
Utah dropped its third straight decision - and its second to the Clippers in as many games.
When the two teams met on Friday in Salt Lake City the Clippers overcame a 19-point third-quarter deficit to win by two points.
On their home floor on Sunday, the Clippers led 71-59 in the third before Jefferson keyed a scoring run that saw the Jazz seize a 76-75 lead.
Paul, however, made two free throws to spark a 6-0 run for the Clippers, who did not let the lead get away from them again.
The Clippers' streak is so impressive that even their glamorous crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, have taken notice.
Results on Sunday (home team in CAPS)
DETROIT 96 Milwaukee 94
San Antonio 111 DALLAS 86
SACRAMENTO 118 Boston 96
(China Daily 01/01/2013 page12)