Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/9/12
LOS ANGELES Stop us if youve heard this one before Its a familiar story with a familiar finish, one in which the Clippers starters yield to their bench in a tight game and spend the fourth quarter acting as cheerleaders from their courtside seats. In their first 20 games of the season, the Clippers have become used to this script. It has helped them to a 14-6 record and six consecutive victories after Sundays 102-83 win over the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. Get used to it. Even with such NBA luminaries as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers dont lose much when they call on their reserves. In fact, when their starters have difficulty on defense or are unable to pull away in the second half, coach Vinny Del Negro has no trouble calling on his bench. Had Matt Barnes not been ejected for a brief skirmish with Raptors guard John Lucas with 1 minute, 36 seconds left in the game, the Clippers would have enjoyed a stretch in which their starters did not play the fourth quarter in four of five games. Sunday, no starter played more than 30 minutes; only backup guard Jamal Crawford played more than 32. As long as Ive been in this league, through 20 games Ive never played this least amount of minutes, Paul said. I should have no arguments about being tired. I want to play, but Im also enjoying cheering on the guys out there playing. We like to see each other succeed. The routine against Toronto was almost identical to Saturdays 117-99 win over the Phoenix Suns, a game in which the Clippers led by two before their bench outscored the Suns 32-16 in the final period. Sunday, the Clippers took a four-point lead into the fourth against a Toronto team that had dropped nine in a row on the road and brought in a 4-16 record. But with Barnes, Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf on the court, they squashed the Raptors over an 8-minute stretch, blowing out a 25-1 run that turned a two-point lead into a 22-point rout. It was a mirror image of last nights game, Crawford said. We had a two-point lead going into the fourth (on Saturday) and we got some stops, and whenever we get stops, that fuels our offense. Bledsoe celebrated his 23rd birthday by scoring 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter on 6-of-9 shooting. Crawford was just 4-of-14 from the floor and saw his streak of consecutive free throws made end at 58, but he still scored 16. Crawford leads the league in fourth-quarter scoring at 8.2 points and is first in bench scoring at 17.9 points, but the Clippers success is a result of each reserve knowing his role and playing it well. Relying on his bench is a luxury right now for Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, who knows it could pay dividends later in the season and postseason perhaps when his starters have something in reserve. Its not always going to be like that, Del Negro said. I think the bench has performed well and they deserve to be out there. But thats not always going to be the case, and everyones got to be ready to play. The win streak matches the Clippers longest of the season, but the first one ended when they went on the road and lost three in a row after opening with a rousing victory in San Antonio. On Tuesday, they begin another four-game road stretch, this one with stops in Chicago, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Detroit. Like last time, theyll have momentum on their side. But theyll also have a collection of reserves to carry them, assuming they can continue on the road what theyve been doing at home. They have one of the top benches in the league, said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. Crawford coming off the bench, he can start for almost any team in the NBA. And then when Crawford gets going, Turiaf and his energy can be a threat. Also, Bledsoe can start for a lot of teams in the NBA. They have a solid bench. Once they get a rhythm going up and down and get their defense turned up, they can cause problems. For now, its working. And the Clippers are riding it as far as it takes them.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Jose Altuve leaves game after scary outfield collision

Allen Iverson has savage response to Tim Hardaway’s crossover claim

Fred Hoiberg: Rajon Rondo ‘longshot’ to return during Celtics series

Pat Riley: LeBron James’ departure from Miami ‘was personal’

Marcus Smart fires back at Jimmy Butler over ‘not about that life’ talk

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tony Gonzalez: Tony Romo did not cost me CBS job

Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated by NFL

Dustin Pedroia: No rift in Red Sox clubhouse after Manny Machado incident

USGA tries to simplify rules by ending viewer call-ins, somehow makes it more complicated

NFL GM: Peterson could push Saints ‘into the playoffs and beyond’

Report: Derek Jeter/Jeb Bush-led group wins auction for Miami Marlins

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Box Score 4/25: 'So long, sleeves'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

20 of the best NFL Draft red carpet looks

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker