T.J. Simers

This is a crucial week for Clippers' winning streak

With tough games ahead, including a matchup with the Lakers on Friday night, the Clippers have their work cut out for them to keep the string going.

The Clippers' streak ends this week.

Look at the schedule.

It begins with a trap game against Utah on Sunday night, a game in Denver on Tuesday where the Nuggets are 9-1, a trap game the next night at Golden State and then a colossal collision with the Lakers on Friday night.

The Clippers survive all that, and fat chance, then they have to pick themselves up after an emotional game with the Lakers to take on Golden State the next night.

So it was fun while it lasted.

In fact, I'm thinking maybe it ends Sunday night.

Maybe the Clippers look past Utah after winning in Utah and I can stay home and catch them again Friday when they take on the Lakers.

The newspaper has another idea. If the Clippers beat Utah, it thinks it would be good if I went to Denver for the new year to follow our heroes.

It's snowing in Denver, I might get stranded, and the newspaper and the family don't seem to have any problem with that.

Sure enough, the Clippers beat Utah, and the first thing Coach Vinny Del Negro is telling me, “Pack your bags.”

And so here we go with one of the best stories in sports right now, although I'm not quite sure how many are really paying attention to this miracle in the making.

Maybe they should change the franchise's name, “Clippers” still meaning something that has nothing to do with success.

The Clippers have won 17 games in a row, have the best record in the NBA and maybe the league's most exciting team.

Smelling salts, please for Ralph Lawler.

But they are not the Lakers, and so that really seems to bother people who think the Clippers aren't worthy of such attention.

They have to win multiple championships, I hear so often, for folks to take notice.

But yowza, what a show people are missing.

Caron Butler has five three-pointers in the opening quarter and DeAndre Jordan throws down an energizing slam, a warmup for an even mightier dunk a few minutes later.

And it's just the appetizer.

When the Clippers start running, you can almost hear Mike D'Antoni's long-distance sigh of jealousy.