Clippers giving fans reason to cheer at Staples Center

first_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 “You always hear people say, you have to take care of home,” said Avery Bradley, whose late-game steal against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday secured the victory to elevate the 12-6 Clippers to first place in the Western Conference. “We say it before every game.”Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.“You definitely want to protect home,” echoed Danilo Gallinari, whose three free throws with 1.6 seconds left in regulation Friday set up the Clippers’ latest victory at Staples Center, where they’re averaging 16,947 fans per game.Gallinari said the Clippers’ early returns remind him of his 2012-13 Denver Nuggets team, whose franchise-best 57-25 overall record was bolstered by their ability to protect their house: They went 38-3 at home.“If we can do the same thing and have the same record here,” Gallinari said, “it would be amazing.” LOS ANGELES — If you’ve attended a Clippers game at Staples Center this season, you’ve witnessed a pair of Chick-fil-A mascot cows doing their best to distract opposing free-throw shooters and felt the deep blast of a tugboat horn that accompanies Boban Marjanovic’s big plays.You’ve probably been on the business end of a T-shirt gun firing generously into the crowd and watched the wealthiest owner in American sports boogying on the baseline.And, unless you showed up for only the season opener, you’ve seen a victory.The Clippers — who hit the road for a game in Portland on Sunday — are 8-1 at home this season. Their eight consecutive wins since that opening-night loss to the Denver Nuggets represent the best current home winning streak in the NBA. CLOSE CALLSThe Clippers’ early success hasn’t been without drama. Their three overtime victories — all at home — are the most in the NBA.They rank second in the NBA in “clutch wins,” or those defined by NBA.com/stats as games played within a five-point margin in the final five minutes of regulation, with nine. (The Philadelphia 76ers have 10.)Are the Clippers enjoying these close calls? Or would they rather blow teams out?“Blow teams out,” said forward Tobias Harris, without hesitation.Still, there’s something to being on the winning side of so many tight games.“We’re a hard team to guard in the fourth quarter and overtime,” Harris said. “You look at the distribution of scoring in the overtime: Avery hit the free throws, I had a layup, Lou (Williams) gets to the free-throw line. So it’s different guys contributing and that’s tough, at times, to defend.”Related Articlescenter_img Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates And they’ve got Williams, whose latest clutch contributions included a jumper, those free throws and an assist in Friday’s overtime.“Whenever you have Lou Will on your team, when it gets to overtime, fourth quarter, I like our chances,” Bradley said.MBAH A MOUTE’S STATUSThe Clippers’ early success has come mostly without Luc Mbah a Moute, who’s missed all but four games this season with what’s described as a sore left knee. Coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t have any further information – “not from me” – about his veteran forward, who signed a one-year, $4.3 million contract to return to the Clippers this season after spending last season as a member of the Houston Rockets. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more