Blake Griffin’s outstanding production has the Los Angeles Clippers overcoming injuries.
It also has them on their longest winning streak in over two years.
Griffin and the Clippers look to make it 12 straight wins Monday night when they visit the Denver Nuggets.
Griffin has scored at least 20 points in 26 straight games, averaging 27.3 on 55.2 percent from the floor. That impressive stretch has been key since Los Angeles (48-20) has recently dealt with the absence of Jamal Crawford (calf), Darren Collison (stomach virus) and J.J. Redick (hip), leaving the team without a combined average of 45.2 points.
Crawford, second on the team with 18.7 points per game, could be out for a fifth consecutive game, while Redick hasn’t played since a 116-115 loss at Denver on Feb. 3.
Collison fell ill just before Sunday’s 102-80 win over Cleveland, but it didn’t matter as Griffin came up two assists shy of a triple-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds on his 25th birthday.
That gave the Clippers 11 straight wins, matching the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the second-longest streak in franchise history. Los Angeles won 17 straight Nov. 28-Dec. 30, 2012.
"This stretch of games that we’ve played and we’ve been successful has been a huge team effort," Griffin said. "Guys have stepped up and really done their part. With our team, I don’t think it’s one guy that’s making us go. I genuinely believe it’s been a total team effort."
That could explain why Griffin’s 36 points, 11 rebounds and five assists weren’t enough against the Nuggets on Feb. 3.
That was one of 18 games Chris Paul missed with a separated shoulder. He’ll be available this time after scoring 16 points while dishing out 15 assists against the Cavaliers.
The star guard is averaging 22.2 points while connecting on 52.9 percent from the floor over his last nine visits to Denver (29-37).
The Clippers, though, have lost 12 of their past 14 games there, including three in a row.
Denver failed in a bid for a third straight win, falling 97-92 at Atlanta on Saturday to cap a 2-3 road trip. Kenneth Faried had 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting, but Ty Lawson was held to a season-low two and missed all 12 of his field-goal attempts.
He should be happy to return home, where he’s averaging 27.0 points in his last three games.
Lawson isn’t the only Nuggets player scoring at a high rate at the Pepsi Center lately. The team is averaging 125.7 points during a three-game stretch there, but has surrendered 122.7 in that span.
Denver’s point guard has also been effective in his last three home contests against the Clippers, connecting on 58.3 percent of his field goals – 6 of 13 3-pointers – while averaging 24.0 points. He scored 27 in February’s win, while Faried had 28 with 11 boards.
Faried is averaging 24.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in his past six games.