The Los Angeles Clippers continue to soar without Blake Griffin behind an outstanding effort defensively. That's also been one of the decisive factors in their one-sided string of victories over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Seeking their 19th win in 23 games, the Clippers look to improve on the NBA's best road record since Dec. 25 on Monday night and win their ninth in a row in this series.
Griffin was averaging a team-high 23.2 points when he suffered a partially torn left quadriceps tendon on Christmas Day. He's now out for an extended period after breaking his hand punching a member of the equipment staff during an altercation.
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Paul Pierce has averaged just 7.4 points while filling in, but the Clippers' 18-4 record since the game Griffin sustained the quad injury is the league's third-best behind Golden State and San Antonio. Their 11-2 road mark is the NBA's best over that span.
Los Angeles has been particularly good defensively, allowing an average of 93.1 points over its last seven games after giving up 101.3 in its previous 44. The club held Miami to 39.8 percent shooting in Sunday's 100-93 win in the second of this four-game trip.
Because of their success since Griffin went down, there had been speculation that the Clippers (34-17) were attempting to move the star power forward before the trade deadline. However, a report surfaced Sunday that the team has rebuffed all inquiries.
The NBA is expected to announce decisions stemming from their investigation soon.
''We're trying to hold it down until our big fella comes back,'' guard Chris Paul said.
After missing his first nine shots, including the worst one-quarter shooting effort (0 for 7) of his career, Paul hit two late 3-pointers and finished with 22 points Sunday. Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench for a fourth straight game.
Without Griffin and Pierce, Austin Rivers had 26 points, DeAndre Jordan scored 22 with 13 rebounds and Paul added 15 points and 14 assists in a 130-99 home win over Philadelphia on Jan. 2. Rivers, though, is out at least four weeks due to a broken hand.
“You never want to see anybody get injured on your team or any other team,” Crawford told the team's official website. “When that happens, hopefully that guy gets back as soon as possible, but we have to hang together until then.”
The Clippers have scored 124.8 per game in their last four against the 76ers. Paul has averaged 24 points on 60.5 percent shooting in his past five at Philadelphia (8-43).
They've also limited the 76ers to 86 points and 38.5 percent shooting during their eight-game run in this series, taking the past seven by an average of 27.1 points.
The 76ers, however, seek their first back-to-back wins since March 18 and 20 following a 103-98 home victory over Brooklyn on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor shined with 22 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks and Nerlens Noel contributed 18 points.
T.J. McConnell filled in with a career high-tying 17 points as Philadelphia shot 46.9 percent to snap a four-game losing streak. Ish Smith, averaging 15.8 points and 7.9 assists since joining the 76ers, hopes to return after missing the game with a sprained ankle.
''I was just trying to do my best impression of him,'' McConnell said.
The Clippers did a nice job against Smith last month, holding him to four points on 2-of-9 shooting. Okafor led the 76ers with 23 points.