The Clippers have taken on a different persona in their last few games, becoming a more enthusiastic and engaged team.
They are still seeking to become that top-NBA-echelon team many predicted they would be this season, but now they are displaying a new-found spirit.
It was easy for the Clippers to keep their zest for each other and the game during a 123-84 victory over Brooklyn because Los Angeles simply overmatched the Nets on Thursday night at Staples Center.
Still, the Clippers encouraged each other while they built their largest lead of the season at 46 points in the fourth quarter, shot a season-high 59% and scored a season-high in points.
They supported each other while they built a 35-point lead in the first half and while they tied their season-high for points in a half with 70.
They yelled for each other while they shot 73.7% from the field in the second quarter and 65.9% in the first half, both season highs.
“That hasn’t been the case all year. You can see the guys really enjoying each other as a group,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “And that’s nice. Playing well helps too.”
The reserves supported the starters, who set the tone with Blake Griffin producing 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting, six rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes, DeAndre Jordan producing 14 points on seven-for-seven shooting and 12 rebounds to go along with two blocks and Chris Paul handing out a season-high 17 assists.
The starters also encouraged the reserves to keep stomping a Nets team that didn’t take long to give in.
There was a moment in the second quarter when Hedo Turkoglu came off the Clippers bench and drilled a three-pointer, drawing cheers from his teammates.
The second unit forced the Nets into a 24-second clock violation in the second quarter, which got all the Clippers up off the bench to applaud their teammates’ defensive effort.
Even Rivers and his staff applauded the intense effort on defense from his substitutes.
When Jamal Crawford (17 points) drilled a high-arching three-pointer in the second quarter, the players on the bench all cheered.
And when Jordan came back into the game in the second quarter and took a lob from Paul and threw down a dunk on Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, letting out a scream in the process, the Clippers sitting on the bench leaped out of their seats and yelled and stomped their feet at the play.
That was the kind of night it was for a Clippers team that has won three consecutive games and four of five.
“It’s good that our bench guys are cheering for the starters,” Rivers said. “The starters are cheering for the bench guys. Yesterday we had an extremely spirited practice in a very good way. And so it’s good.
“It’s called growth. And it’s good for our team.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner