For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the Clippers won their season series against the Indiana Pacers, beating them, 102-100, at Staples Center on Wednesday. Here are five takeaways from the win:
1. Good defense down the stretch
The Clippers held the Pacers scoreless for nearly four minutes in the fourth quarter -- from the 5-minute, 37-second mark to 1 minute, 46 seconds. The Clippers, who trailed by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, used a 12-2 run late to take a four-point lead down the stretch.
"That's a great sign of a team, when you're not playing well and all of the sudden you can go on a defensive run," Coach Doc Rivers said.
2. DeAndre Jordan has a monster rebounding night
Jordan finished with 23 rebounds, nearly half of the Clippers' total of 51. He's leading the league in rebounding, averaging 13 a game. What's even more impressive is that he had a strong performance against the Pacers, who are the third-highest rebounding team in the league, averaging 45.8 a game.
"It's too early to start campaigning for defensive player of the year and all of that, but my gosh, what he's doing every night is unbelievable," Rivers said.
3. Rivers wants Chris Paul to be even more aggressive on offense
Paul has acknowledged that he always looks to pass first. If it were up to Rivers, though, the point guard's priorities would shift. Paul, who finished with 20 points on seven-for-14 shooting and nine assists, played aggressive offense in the fourth quarter, and Rivers said that it was no coincidence that that's when the Clippers really started playing well.
"I'm always going to say he should shoot more," Rivers said. "... I'm a big believer in the aggressive point guard, I just think it puts so much pressure on the defense every time."
4. The Clippers' bench was outdone
The Clippers reserves were outscored by the Pacers' bench, 42-17. Rivers said the scoring differential could be due to the fact that Jamal Crawford's elbow injury is worse than he's acknowledging. The reigning sixth man of the year had only 10 points on four-for-seven shooting. Rivers, however, also pointed out that the Pacers' bench got more minutes, skewing the numbers.
"It's a concern," Rivers said of his bench's play on Wednesday. "Having said that, our bench saved us the game before. I don't know if we're just an inconsistent bench right now."
5. The Clippers are going to have a big challenge in Denver
The Clippers on Friday play at Denver, which is known as one of the tougher venues because of the altitude. After Wednesday's game, Rivers recalled telling his son Austin, a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, to warm up really hard before his first game there, but that the advice fell flat. Rivers said his son was so exhausted after warming up that he couldn't complete layup lines. Rivers added that another coach once advised him that when playing in Denver, take a fine and arrive right before the game. However, he said he's not sure that plan is foolproof either.
"I've heard so many theories with that," Rivers said.