Starting 5: No returns


Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Not this time

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images/ZimbioThe Jazz figured they might have as good a shot as any team to snap the Clippers win streak. After all, they had that 16-point lead in Salt Lake City, shut down that prolific Clippers bench and lost only on a dubious foul call on the perimeter committed by Al Jefferson.

There would be no end Sunday night. Not a chance. The Clippers will not have back-to-back poor games. Not with this team. Not while this streak is still fresh.

Los Angeles extended its franchise-best win streak to 17 games, becoming the 17th team to reach a win streak of that length, in a 107-96 win over Utah at Staples Center on Sunday night. Los Angeles went 16-0 in December completing an absoultely astounding month of play.

What the NBA should probably most be worried about is that the Clippers continue to find new ways to beat teams.

This time it was Caron Butler doing the dirty work for the Clippers. He scored 16 of his 29 points in the first quarter to give the Clippers a healthy lead early on and hit all six of his 3-pointers. Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford each had 19 points and the team needed very little from Blake Griffin to hold off Utah and record the win.

So when will the Clippers face a challenge? Seventeen wins are already impressive, but circle January 4's matchup against the Lakers in a road game on ESPN.

2: Gift exchange

Duane Burleson/AP/The Washington PostThe Bucks and pistons are not quite thought of as elite. They both recently defeated the Heat and so they both were feeling very very good. Eventually though you return to the mean.

Both seemed to do that in Sunday's matchup.

Detroit pulled ahead for a 17-point lead but then Milwaukee made a furious rally to get back into the game. The Bucks tied it thanks to some strong play from Ersan Ilyasova and Monta Ellis. Detroit though had the answers. Tayshaun Prince hit the go-ahead free throws with 10.9 seconds left and Ellis' runner was no good.

The Pistons survived. But neither team looked crisp or efficient — or at least as efficient as they did when they defeated the Heat in their previous games.

For a Detroit team though that has struggled mightily this season, it was a very nice win. Prince had 20 points and Jason Maxiell and Greg Monroe each had double doubles. Monta Ellis scored 30 points and Ersan Ilyasova had 24 points for Milwaukee.


Tony Parker hangs and hits

Thomas Robinson comes up green

Caron Butler knifes his way in

4: Line of the Night: DeMarcus Cousins — 12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists

Things are not perfect between DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings right now. But after two games back, Cousins is back in the lineup and is playing at a decently high level. In Sacramento's 118-96 win over Boston on Sunday, Cousins recorded his first career triple double. At least Cousins put on a good show for one of his potential suitors.

5:  You can quote me on that

I'm just proud of the guys. It's been a great month for us. We enjoy it for about . . . usually when we win, we jump up and down once or twice in the locker room. Tonight we let them jump up about three or four times.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro on his team's perfect December

No matter if we win by 30 or lose by 30, he can always find something for us to improve.

Spurs guard Danny Green on playing the Mavericks again

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily