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Clippers miss Blake Griffin, but they're winning without him

Clippers miss Blake Griffin, but they're winning without him
Clippers forward Blake Griffin makes a pass over Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and D'Angelo Russell during the first half on Dec. 25. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

The Clippers are all aware this hot streak they're on comes with asterisks.

To be sure, the Clippers would rather have Blake Griffin playing and not sitting out the last four games he missed with a partially torn left quad tendon.

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The Clippers won all of the games and are in the midst of a season-high five-game winning streak.

"It's hard to make any broad proclamations because we're going to need Blake Griffin for us to do what we want to do," guard J.J. Redick said, laughing, said after the Clippers defeated New Orleans on Thursday night. "So, it's great that we were able to win these games without him. But let's hurry up and get him back on the court."

The four victories without Griffin were against Utah, Washington, Charlotte and New Orleans, not exactly the NBA's elite. And all four teams had key players injured.

Nevertheless, by winning all five games on the road (beginning with the Christmas Day win over the Lakers at Staples Center), it was the first time in franchise history the Clippers have finished a trip 5-0.

The Clippers, who didn't practice Friday, return home to face the Philadelphia 76ers, the team with the worst record in the NBA, on Saturday at Staples Center.

And Griffin won't play in that game either.

"We're a much better team with Blake," point guard Chris Paul said. "But being able to do this, I think, without him, gives us a little bit more confidence so when he comes back we'll get that rhythm going.

"We did it together. It wasn't like it was just one unit."

Redick finds a groove

Like almost everyone else on the Clippers, Redick has raised his level of play with Griffin out.

In his last five games, Redick shot 55% from the field, 56.3% (18 for 32) from three-point range and averaged 19.6 points.

"I feel like I've played pretty well this whole month," Redick said. "The rhythm is there, for sure."

Injuries slowed him some earlier this season. He missed three games with back spasms in November and one with a sprained right ankle in December.

"I got off to a really slow start last year and then that first month this year, I felt like I was playing well and then I had kind of a three-week stretch where I was out a week, played a week, out a week," Redick said. "It was like stop and go, and it sometimes frustrates you as a scorer and a shooter when you get out of rhythm."

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CLIPPERS UP NEXT

VS PHILADELPHIA

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Clippers 21-13; 76ers 3-31.

Record vs. 76ers (2014-15): 2-0.

Update: In two games against the 76ers last season, the Clippers won by an average of 28.5 points, the largest differential of any team in the NBA against a single opponent. DeAndre Jordan is shooting an NBA-best 71.8% from the field. He is second in rebounds and third in blocked shots.

Twitter:@BA_Turner

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