The Clippers have caught the momentum of an avalanche in this 15-game winning streak, and they’re apparently stopping for nobody, no matter their reputation. The Celtics are only six months removed from losing in heartbreaking fashion to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Los Angeles made Boston look irrelevant and old in a 106-77 crush-job at Staples Center. The moment Chris Paul (eight points, 11 assists) threw an impossible alley-oop just a couple steps past DeAndre Jordan‘s pick in the first quarter — to which Jordan made an impossible catch-and-dunk by making up about 16 feet in two steps — we wondered if this was going to be a rout. Lately the Clips’ games have resembled a breakaway train that blows by each stop, simply gaining speed and daring foes to try to slow them down. The C’s just weren’t that team Thursday night — though maybe it’s not an indictment, because there are only a handful of teams that could have. By the time Blake Griffin (15 points) was done feeling his oats and stepping back on three first-quarter jumpers, the Clips were up 15 halfway through the first. Relief doesn’t come for opponents with the arrival of L.A.’s bench right now, either, not with Jamal Crawford (17 points) making banked layups with his back to the basket going baseline, or beating the shot clock with a rainbow triple. Matt Barnes has been magnificent, too, in this 15-game stretch, getting 21 off the bench Thursday and six on threes from the left wing in a crucial second-quarter stretch. Boston looked to be righting its ship when his triples held 11- and 12-point leads for L.A. Instead of single-digit anxiety for the Clippers, it was more of the same runaway train. … Kevin Garnett (16 points, four boards) may have had a sweet turn-around J like Christian Laettner to end the first quarter, but his non-factor night on the boards is a microcosm of Boston’s troubles. The C’s are eighth in defensive rebounding percentage but dead last in offensive rebounding rate. There wasn’t even a silver lining in Rajon Rondo to report after this one: His largely disconnected 34 minutes resulted in 10 points, six assists and four turnovers. … Coach of the Month in November to unemployed coach in December. An 11-4 start, and a 3-10 finish, just wasn’t good enough for Avery Johnson in Brooklyn, fired by GM Billy King after he said he felt Johnson wasn’t reaching his team (read: Deron Williams). Citing the extremes the Nets played with — from winning streaks to infighting and losses — is certainly valid for why he was canned, but a team that prides itself on a bold, Prokhorovian vision would have done well to stick with this one a little longer. That’s just the rhythm of an NBA season. … Now, if the Nets can poach Montana’s biggest game, Phil Jackson, to coach then no one will care. … Hit the jump to read about Kevin Durant’s 40-point game. …
Smack / Dec 28, 2012 / 3:36 am
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