The Clippers beat the Heat in Miami, 110-93, on Thursday, and one glance at the stat sheet will tell you why. The Clippers had an eye-popping 31 assists; Miami, meanwhile, had just 11.
Eleven assists? That’s it? Clippers guard Jamal Crawford had almost that many by himself (nine).
“We really passed up good shots for great shots the last two nights,” Crawford said on Ferrall on the Bench. “It’s really worked in our favor.”
Chris Paul finished with a game-high 12 assists, while Blake Griffin added four of his own.
“I think we’re better when we do that,” Crawford said. “When the ball moves around and hops around, guys are really passing up good shots for great shots and everybody’s a threat out there. That really works in our favor.”
It also works in the Clippers’ favor when Blake Griffin dominates. Griffin had 26 points on 12-of-18 shooting to go with seven rebounds and three steals, while Paul added 26 and 12. Crawford, however, had just five points and five shots.
But did we mention those nine assists?
“That’s what it takes some nights,” the two-time Sixth Man of the Year said. “My number will be called to lead us in scoring; one night it’ll be there in assists. Everybody just has to bring something different to the table. Doc (Rivers) always says, ‘If a team takes away what you do best, how can you help us?’ For tonight, with me, it was just passing – and we were able to get the win.”
The Clippers (7-4), who rank ninth in the league in scoring (103.5), have scored 110+ points in three of their last four games.
“We definitely are (playing better),” Crawford said. “Coach says when we get stops we can get out and run. At that point, there’s no telling who’s going to score. If we don’t know, then the opposition definitely doesn’t know.”
The Clippers are two games into a seven-game road trip that will take them to Memphis, Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and Utah between now and next Saturday. They’re off on Thanksgiving, but they won’t be able to spend it at home with their families.
Is that kind of a drag, or is it nice to spend holidays with your teammates?
“I think it’s a little bit of both,” Crawford said. “ It’s definitely a drag, but it’s what we signed up for. When we’re on the road with just your teammates, you get a chance to bond and do things together you might not necessarily get a chance to do in L.A.”
The important thing, though, is that the Clippers have rebounded from a slow 4-3 start. Crawford, for one, wasn’t worried about the team’s up-and-down play to begin the season – even though some fans and analysts were.
“I think some people (were worried),” he said, “but for us, we never panic. We never hit the panic button. We just really leaned on each other. We knew that the season wasn’t won or lost in the first couple weeks. It’s a long journey. It’s a process. There’s always going to be adversity. It’s how you bounce back from it.”