The Clippers must have felt a great sense of satisfaction as they boarded their flight and returned home from Cleveland late Friday night.
They played two difficult opponents in back-to-back road games and won. They put an end to another long losing streak on the road. They improved their record away from Staples Center to 20-12. And they crushed a Cavaliers team that resisted losing for most of three quarters.
Life is good.
Those were the words Jamal Crawford used to describe a 105-89 win over the Cavs at Quicken Loans Arena, although he was also talking about the birth of his daughter this week in Seattle. But his point was made.
In a season of so many significant moments, the Clippers enjoyed another, ending a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland. This season, they’ve stopped road losing streaks of 17 games in San Antonio, 16 in Utah, 10 in Dallas and nine in Denver.
“That’s been our calling card all season,” said Crawford, who scored 24 points in 27 minutes. “We can’t just play where we’re comfortable at home. We love our fans, but we can’t take all 20,000 of them with us on the road. For us, we have to bound together and hang out and try to get it done.”
The Clippers return home for five of their next six games, including a Sunday contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team they’re trying to catch for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
They’ll bring some momentum into the game, having won four in a row and eight of nine, although they’ve lost both previous games to the Thunder this season.
But they seem like a different team as they hit the stretch run, one capable of finding ways to overcome opponents’ surges and then coming up with big baskets.
Friday night, the Cavaliers closed to three points, 62-59, with 5 minutes, 48 seconds left in the third quarter, but the Clippers ran off seven consecutive points, including two dunks by Blake Griffin, one on a lob from Chris Paul.
Crawford’s four-point play with 9:51 left in the game put the Clippers ahead by 15, and all they had left to do was pack and fly home.
Chris Paul had 11 points, 15 assists and no turnovers, and Griffin finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, his 25th double-double of the season. Lamar Odom had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Crawford was right. At the moment, life is very good for the Clippers.