Ranking the LA Clippers' 10 Best Highlights of the 2014-15 Season so Far

Michael C. Jones@MikeJonesTweetsContributor IIIDecember 9, 2014

Ranking the LA Clippers' 10 Best Highlights of the 2014-15 Season so Far

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers have had plenty of moments worth celebrating thus far in the 2014-15 NBA season. At 15-5 through 20 games and riding an eight-game win streak, Doc Rivers' squad is starting to resemble the championship-caliber group that was built to contend for a title. 

    From a groundbreaking front-office hire to getting the better of the crosstown rival Los Angeles Lakers early on, let's take a look at all the best moments to this point in the season.

10. Winning the Battle of Los Angeles

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    Christine Cotter/Associated Press

    The Clips moved to 2-0 on the season on Oct. 31 with a big 118-111 win over the Lakers in front of their home fans. Griffin got loose for a season-high 39 points and went 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. 

    He even went 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. 

    It was the first sign that the 25-year-old could be poised for another MVP-caliber season. There will be more of Blake to come. 

9. Opening Night Win over OKC

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    One night before the Clips solidified their claim to the Los Angeles city title, they opened the season agaisnt the Oklahoma City Thunder with a narrow 93-90 win. The caveat is that Kevin Durant wasn't active for the game, and Russell Westbrook exited early with a hand injury.  

    But the Thunder played the game determined not to let their stars' absence affect them. OKC posted first and third quarters of 28 points apiece to keep it close and give the Clippers a fight. 

    In the end, the Clips came out on top where it mattered most—the scoreboard. 

8. Steve Ballmer's Intro

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    One of Steve Ballmer's first pieces of official business as new team owner was to introduce himself to fans. He did so with unbridled enthusiasm at the Clippers' Fan Festival in August.

    His passion for the team, the city and its fans was easy to see. He's been breath of fresh air for the league just one month removed from the Donald Sterling saga. 

    In addition to being a fan favorite, he's all kinds of entertaining. Any Clippers telecast is almost certain to feature him screaming incessantly on the sidelines, win or lose. 

7. Redick's Red-Hot December

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    At the beginning of the season, J.J. Redick didn't look like the sharpshooter who built a career on long-range accuracy. He was 2-of-13 in the first two games of the season and struggled to find rhythm. 

    The adage that shooters need only keep firing to come out of a slump has proved true in the month of December as it relates to the former Duke star.

    In four games, he's shooting a blazing 53.5 percent from deep and is a major reason the Clippers continue to roll. 

    Los Angeles needs him to be the guy who can light it up and keep defenses honest. As one of the best in the league at moving without the ball, he has the ability to affect the game without getting touches. 

    But he's most effective when the three is falling. The good news for the Clippers is that it has been of late. 

6. Signature Win vs. Blazers

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    Los Angeles took care of business at home against the Portland Trail Blazers with a narrow 106-102 win on Nov. 8. Four of the Clippers' five starters scored at least 20 points, and Redick had his best game of the season.

    The shooting guard poured in 30 points on 11-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-3 from the three-point line. 

    The most encouraging factor was Los Angeles finding a way to win a game where Blazers stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard each had productive games with 21 and 25 points, respectively. 

    Portland is currently atop the Northwest Division at 16-4. Beating elite teams like the Trail Blazers is a solid dress rehearsal for the postseason. 

5. Jordan Dominates the Boards, Clippers Stifle Davis

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    New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis has been nothing short of spectacular this season. That's why it was a big deal when the Clippers managed to get the better of him on Dec. 6 during a 120-100 rout at Staples Center. 

    The third-year All-Star scored 25 points but totaled just three rebounds, as DeAndre Jordan dominated the glass with 18. He only registered one blocked shot—he's averaging 2.9 through 19 games. 

    Davis will be a star for a long time in the NBA, but the Los Angeles bigs slowed him down to continue the team's winning ways. 

4. Chris Paul Goes off vs. Suns

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    The Suns have proved they can play with the Clippers, as evidenced by two hard-fought head-to-head losses this season. 

    In the first matchup between the two teams on Nov. 15, point guard Chris Paul put together a masterpiece performance. He poured in 32 points and added nine assists. What's more, he was plus-16 and also collected five rebounds and two steals. 

    The Clippers won by a score of 120-107 after a week-long break that was preceded by a tough home loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

    Phoenix gives the Clippers fits. More on that momentarily. 

3. Gillian Zucker Hired as President

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    Ballmer made history when he hired Gillian Zucker as president of business operations. She's now the only female not named Jeanie Buss to serve as president or chief executive of a major U.S. professional sports organization.

    This wasn't just history-making move. It makes sense. Her track record demonstrates as much. 

    The former NASCAR and MLB front-office stalwart isn't afraid of a challenge. She was comfortable enough to fire back at Dale Earnhardt, Jr. when he criticized Southern California racing fans. 

    That same attitude will serve the Clippers well as they reinvent their organization following a tumultuous offseason in the wake of an ownership change.

2. Bottling Up the Rockets

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    The Clippers hadn't had a Western Conference road win since beating the Lakers in October. When they traveled to the Lone Star State to face the Houston Rockets on Nov. 28, it was their biggest test of a seven-game road trip. 

    Los Angeles won, 102-85, against a team without its top rim protector, Dwight Howard.

    Still, the Clips' defensive effort was one to champion, as they held superstar James Harden to 16 points on just 5-of-12 shooting from the field. By taking him out of the game, they made a tough task look relatively easy. 

    That momentum helped the squad continue its current winning streak. 

1. Blake Griffin Hits Game-Winner to Keep Streak Alive

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    Blake Griffin hit an improbable three-pointer in the final seconds to vault the Clippers over the Suns in double overtime, 105-104, on Dec. 8. 

    The play broke down initially. The power forward took a desperation step-back heave from deep that mercifully fell through the net after hitting iron and glass.

    "I got a lucky bounce," Griffin said via the live telecast on Fox Sports West. "We ran our offense and got stops when we needed to. It was a team win." 

    He's being modest. The All-Star did a little bit of everything. 

    It was his 45 points that served as the catalyst for the win. He added eight rebounds, two assists and a steal to fill up the stat sheet. 

    Most importantly, though, he extended the team's season-long win streak to eight games and got Ballmer all worked up on the sidelines just for good measure.

    Without question, this was the signature moment of the young season. The Clips will have a tough time topping it. 

    Fortunately for NBA fans, the fun lies in watching them try. 


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