LOS ANGELES -- From the beginning, the Clippers knew they had an experienced group of reserves -- players who knew what to do with their limited minutes on the court.
They had Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford and Ronny Turiaf and Lamar Odom, and they figured all of them, plus burgeoning star Eric Bledsoe, would be capable enough to give the team a boost of energy and important offensive production when the starters rested.
But this? Who would have guessed the Clippers' bench would be this good this early?
Answer: No one. The Clippers knew they had a good bench that would develop into a helpful unit as the season developed, but as they proved again Sunday afternoon in an 89-76 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center, they are already forming into a cohesive group.
"With each game we get more confidence because everybody understands their role out there," Crawford said. "Bledsoe runs the show, Ronny and Ryan (Hollins) do all the dirty work, Matt's guarding everybody, and my...