HANGTIME SOUTHWEST — During their franchise record-setting 17-game win streak, one team was notably absent from the list of victims: the Golden State Warriors.
Rather the Warriors posted two victories over the NBA’s new darlings from Tinseltown, one at the front end and another at the back end of the Clippers’ streak. So when the Warriors strolled into Staples Center on Saturday night fresh off a 115-94 flogging of the lob-a-licious Clips on Wednesday night in Oakland, Chris Paul and Co. were waiting with carving knives out.
Yet, it wasn’t so much the most recent Warriors uprising that had Paul and his buddies in a tizzy. Nope, it was Golden State’s 114-110 win in L.A. way back on Nov. 3, and that young squad’s ensuing celebration that rankled CP3.
“The first time they beat us here, you would have thought they won the NBA Finals,” Paul told reporters after the Clippers gouged Golden State, 115-89, Saturday night at Staples. “Then they beat us up there pretty handily, so we wanted to protect our home court. This was the third time we’ve played those guys at the end of a back-to-back, so we knew if we let them get out and run, we’d be in for a long night.”
The Clippers’ victory set yet another franchise record, a 12th consecutive home win.
“We’ve been pretty good at home,” said Paul, who was spectacular in posting 27 points (10-for-12 shooting), nine assists, five rebounds and no turnovers in just 28 minutes. “I think that’s 12 in a row for us here. It’s all about our fans, and we feed off them. So we’ve got to keep making this a tough place to play.”
The Clippers’ are now 17-3 at Staples, which is two more wins than their star-studded co-tenant has all season.
In a Pacific Division dominated by those iron-clad Lakers since the beginning of time, with Sacramento and Phoenix popping up for spurts, there are clearly two new kids on the block.
And these Warriors and Clippers are gaining a healthy dislike for one another.
Unfortunately there’s just one more regular-season meeting between the two, a MLK matinee on Jan. 21 back at always raucous Oracle Arena.
After that, and god-willing, it’ll take a playoff series to carry on this burgeoning battle of I-5.
And how many times has anyone been able to say that?