It?s almost as hard to believe as the Red Sox and White Sox winning the World Series in back-to-back years.
The Clippers?along with the San Antonio Spurs - are on top of the West.
Granted, the season is a mere eight games old, but after dismantling the Milwaukee Bucks, 109-85, the Clippers, at 6-2, are off to the best start in the history of the franchise.
More importantly, they took apart a team considered one of the rising young powers in the East, an explosive bunch that, led by Michael Redd, Maurice Williams, and T.J. Ford, entered the game torching the opposition at a 108ppg average. In fact, coming into the game, they were the only NBA team that had not been held under 100 points.
But the Bucks never led, and never got untracked.
Sam Cassell, schooling every guard the Bucks threw at him, scored 23 points on 9-12 shooting, and handed out 9 assists. Elton Brand scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds, and Corey Maggette, coming off the bench, exploded for 112 points in the second quarter, en route to a season-high 21.
The Clippers jumped out to an 8-0 lead, let the Bucks creep to within 31-29 early in the second quarter, and then sprung a swarming defense that produced 30 deflections and countless rushed shots. The Bucks shot only 39% from the field. Redd and Ford scored a meaningless 15 points each, and the frontcourt of center Jamaal Magloire and rookie forward Andrew Bogut combined for all of 2 points. Only Bobby Simmons, in his return to Los Angeles, made some noise, scoring 13 points and looking as chiseled and athletic as Ron Artest.
While the Bucks were unable to get off shots or run any kind of transition game, the Clippers took them apart with 47% shooting and a vigorous inside-outside game.
?Any time we can get 30 deflections, we?re going to have a good night,? said Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy after the game. ?Our major priority was to get back in the paint and [keep Maurice Williams] out beyond the arc.?
While the Bucks only trailed by 55-46 at the half, Cassell broke them down in the third quarter, scoring 10 points, and leading a 12-2 spurt that gave the Clippers an 83-59 lead and essentially ended things. The lead grew to 31 in the fourth, leading to an extended garbage time that allowed Clippers fans to sit back and root for favorites like Chris Wilcox.
The Clippers, who are 3-0 at home, have two days to savor the victory and prepare for their first mini-test of the season, when they ?visit? the Lakers at Staples on Friday night. There?s no question the Clippers are the better team this year, now all they have to do is seize the moment. The media is already starting to take notice; the post-game locker room was more crowded than at almost any time last season.
?It?s early,? Elton Brand said, commenting on the Clippers fast start. ?It?s early, but it?s never happened here before, and we?re excited.?