Game #2 | October 31, 2013
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
After watching their early double-digit lead wobble a little against the Golden State Warriors, the Clippers threw a few haymakers in the third quarter of their wild 126-115 victory.
Blake Griffin converted three consecutive alley-oops from Chris Paul, one each seemingly topping the other. The first extended the lead back to 14 and by the time he flushed down the third one, a one-handed catch at the right of the rim on a full sprint, the arena was at full throat.
So was DeAndre Jordan, who crouched and let out a roar that was drowned out by the 95th consecutive sellout crowd to attend a Clipper home game.
“It started on defense,” Griffin said of the 30-second stretch of three dunks. “That’s what got us going.”
Said Ryan Hollins: “That’s the way we have to play with that energy, that effort. Blake getting out and running and Chris throwing that that’s when we’re at our finest.”
The Warriors made their way back as close as eight, but Paul unlike any player in NBA history before him, closed the door.
Or slammed it shut.
Paul scored 15 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter. He was game for a shootout with Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who had 38 points of his own. But it was Paul who helped the Clippers hold on.
He added 15 assists, including a brilliant pass for a J.J. Redick 3-pointer with less than three minutes to go that put L.A. up a dozen and the lobs to Griffin, and six steals. He is the first player in NBA history since 1985-86 to have at least 42 points, 15 assists and six steals in a single game. It was also one shy of his career high in points and the most by a Clippers player since Griffin had 47 in Jan. 2011.
To top it off, he tied up Curry to force a jump ball with the Warriors (1-1) in desperation mode.
“I was a little bit more aggressive tonight,” Paul said. “I looked for my shot and the ball screen. I tried to be aggressive on defense.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was a little more expressive when it came to Paul’s performance. “He was awesome,” Rivers said. “We had that one stretch where we struggled, I called a timeout and we got back to running our offense. That’s so important for us. It’s so easy to guard if we stand around, but Blake came out and made a layup. [Paul] just did a good job running the team.”
The Clippers (1-1), led by Paul, Griffin and Jordan, played with a different passion, a furor in Thursday’s home opener that was absent earlier in the week. What a difference two days makes.
There was a shoving match between Jordan and Andrew Bogut, the spirited scoring outburst by Paul, and reemergence of Jamal Crawford as a go-to scorer in the fourth quarter.
Crawford scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth, helping Paul put the game away.
“We withstood their run,” Crawford said. “I think it wasn’t just one guy. Obviously, Chris had a lot of points tonight, but other guys stepped especially in key moments. Like I’ve said [before], there’s always that moment of truth where it can go either way and we hit some timely baskets as a team.”
And, of course, there was Griffin and Jordan.
The dynamic frontcourt, who the Clippers are hoping to ride to an extended postseason run, answered the call after what they termed a “disappointing” season-opening loss to the Lakers. Jordan had nine points and 17 rebounds (28 in two games). And Griffin, who fouled out with 3:53 left in the fourth, had 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
The trio of Paul, Jordan and Griffin also went to the foul line 37 times combined. The Clippers were 33-of-50 (66.0 percent) overall on the night. The number of foul shots (83 between the two teams) was indicative of a chippiness that seemed to carry over from a year ago when the Clippers lost three out of four games in the series, including two by double digits.
“We were just trying to come out and protect home court,” Jordan said. “But we remember that we lost to these guys three times and how the games went.”
“The way we lost. The amount of points that we lost by and we remember things like that. And that was one of the first things Doc reminded us of when he got the job, ‘Golden State smacked us last year.’ We definitely remembered that.”
The Clippers scored 68 first-half points. They scored 68 or more points in a half just four times in 82 games last season… The Warriors arrived at their team hotel at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, according to Head Coach Mark Jackson after their plane had a mechanical malfunction the night before… Golden State went 8-of-10 from the field then proceeded to miss seven of their next eight shots… The Clippers out-rebounded the Warriors, 44-33… Redick scored 17 points… Curry had 11 of Golden State’s 25 turnovers. The miscues led to 28 Clippers points… Griffin, Paul and Jordan addressed the crowd prior to the game, thanking the fans for their support in advance of the coming season…
Clippers point guard Chris Paul when asked to evaluate his 42-point, 15-assist, six-steal performance:
“I just sat down here and saw the stat sheet for the first time and look right here, six turnovers. That’s ridiculous. That means six times I didn’t give us an opportunity to score. At the end of the day as a point guard you evaluate yourself on wins and losses, but I’m big on turnovers. I hate turnovers. That’s the first thing I saw.”
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on the altercation with Andrew Bogut that occurred in the second quarter:
“He fouled me and I thought he followed through a little bit. And I’m definitely going to protect myself at all times. That’s really it. It didn’t escalate anymore. Nothing else happened.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin on whether or not his three consecutive alley-oops could be viewed as a turning point in the game:
“I thought we did a good job throughout the game defensively, but that was a point where we stretched the lead and did some things defensively that we were trying to do.”
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on Chris Paul’s performance:
“He played a great game. He picked them apart. He scored when he needed to. He was aggressive the whole night. When he’s playing like that we’re tough to beat.”
Warriors forward David Lee on the Clippers’ offense:
“A huge part of it was their ability to get out on the break. They had one time were they had three or four lobs on the break and if that two minute span doesn’t happened, we’re right there at the end of the game as poorly as we played.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on earning the first win of the season:
"It’s nice, I mean if it didn’t happen we’d have another one tomorrow. But it’s always nice to get one. Like I’ve said before, we have a long way to go. I really believe we’re going to be so much better later. And the fact that we can beat a good team tonight means more than just a win.”
- Doc Rivers Postgame News Conference - 10/31/13Doc Rivers addresses the media following the Clippers' win over the Warriors on 10/31/13.
- Blake Griffin Postgame - 10/31/13Blake Griffin addresses the media following the win over the Warriors on 10/31/13.
- Chris Paul Postgame - 10/31/13Chris Paul addresses the media following the win over the Warriors on 10/31/13
- Warriors vs. ClippersChris Paul has 42 points and 15 assists leading the Clippers to victory over Golden State in their home opener on Thursday night.
- Steal of the Night - Chris PaulChris Paul commits the turnover, but steals it right back and elevates for the one-hand slam.
- Dunk of the Night - Blake GriffinBlake Griffin rises to meet this alley-oop pass and throws it down hard.
- Nightly NotableChris Paul explodes for 42 points and dishes out 15 dimes in the Clippers big win over the Warriors.
- Postgame: Chris PaulChris Paul talks to Craig Sager about Stephen Curry's shooting and defeating the Warriors.
- Griffin Confronts JacksonBlake Griffin of the Clippers confronts Warriors head coach Mark Jackson for pushing him during the first quarter of Thursday's contest.
- Blake the Dunking MachineBlake Griffin throws down three straight electrifying dunks off three consecutive Warriors' turnovers.
- Paul Goes BankingChris Paul posts up the bigger defender, spins inside and banks it in off the glass.
- CP3's Steal & SlamChris Paul commits the turnover, but steals it right back and elevates for the one-hand slam.
- Oop to D.J.Chris Paul accelerates through the defense and tosses it up to DeAndre Jordan who looks down into the rim on the one-hand smash.
LOS ANGELES – The start of the season did not go as the Clippers may have expected.
But as Blake Griffin said after Tuesday’s opening night loss “the best thing about the NBA is that you get a chance to redeem yourself after the next couple of days.
“One game is not going to make or break our season,” Griffin added. “We just need to get back to work.”
That next opportunity comes in the form of the Golden State Warriors (1-0) in Thursday night’s home opener. The Clippers (0-1) had a heated four-game series last season with the team expected to be among the chief contenders for the Pacific Division crown in 2013-14.
After losing by four points in the third game of the year, the Clippers and Warriors played three times in a three-week period in January. They alternated blowout victories with the Clippers outwardly questioning the Warriors celebratory acts on the floor in Oakland and Warriors head coach Mark Jackson staring at the Clippers bench after three consecutive alley-oops from Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan extended the game to a 38-point margin in the third quarter at Staples Center.
Enter Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who is seeking his first win since switching coasts, into the fray. Prior to Wednesday’s practice Rivers made it clear he was not going to overreact to losing the night before. Asked if the Clippers need the confidence boost of a win in their home opener, he said, “It would be nice. I think any time you win it’s good for your confidence and when you lose it tests your resolve.”
Their resolve was tested Tuesday, when the Lakers used a 41-point fourth quarter to turn the game upside down. And it will be again with Golden State in town on night two of a back-to-back.
Chris Paul vs. Stephen Curry
Paul and Curry have a history. The more accomplished member of the “Splash Brothers” attended Paul’s basketball camp in North Carolina and said during All-Star Weekend in Houston that he often talks to Paul and thinks of him as a mentor. On the court, though, the matchup has been one of the main reasons to watch. They exchanged big performances in each of the three January games with the higher scoring player of the two winning each of them. Overall, Paul’s teams have gone just 5-7 in 12 career games against Curry. But Paul has owned him statistically. Paul has averaged 21.6 points, 9.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting 53.5 percent. Curry has gone for 16.2 points, 5.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds and shot 50.4 percent.
THINGS TO WATCH
1. Three-point defense. The Clippers were amongst the bottom five in 3-point defense a year ago, and finished 6-14 when opponents made at least 10 3-pointers in a game. It looked as though the same problems existed on opening night as the Lakers converted 14 shots from beyond the arc, including far too many that went uncontested.
“I don’t expect Golden State to be any more of a test than the Lakers were last night,” Rivers said. “They made every shot. Golden State is a great shooting team, they’re going to make every shot if they’re open. We just have to be there. We have to run them off shots and force them into contested twos.”
The Warriors, led by Curry and Klay Thompson, went 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from 3-point range in their opener on Wednesday. J.J. Redick said the Clippers have to make halting Golden State’s game from long distance a priority.
“It’s got to be a focus to run guys off the line,” Redick said. “Some of our rotations, some of our stuff, got broken down. The guards have got to do a better job at the point of the ball, controlling and containing our guy and being into the ball a little bit more. It seemed like a lot of their threes were off penetration, where our defense was broken down at the point of the ball.”
2. Rebounding. With David Lee and Andrew Bogut in the front court and Iguodala on the wing, the Warriors have potential to give the Clippers trouble on the boards. Rivers said even though his team struggled to keep the Lakers off the offensive glass it is not something he is going to make drastic changes to, yet.
“If you’re looking for that type of coach, you’re looking for the wrong coach,” Rivers said. “That when we have a bad game, ‘Okay, today guys we’re going to change everything and do something.’ In five games, if we’re still struggling on rebounds, then we might have to do something. We might have to change our coverages on defense to get guys closer. I just don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”
Griffin, who had seven rebounds against the Lakers, talked about how the Clippers can avoid getting beat on the glass on Thursday.
“As a team we just need to try to be better rebounders,” he said. “Not just going to an area, but making sure we go to a guy and box out and everybody comes in and helps rebound.”
3. Bench depth. The Clippers and Warriors both expect to have some of the deepest teams in the league. On Tuesday, though, only Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes played significant minutes off the bench for the Clippers as Rivers waits for the entire unit to coalesce. The Warriors, on the other hand, lost Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, but replaced them with Jermaine O’Neal, Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas. Newcomer and former All-Star Andre Iguodala told Comcast Sports Net after Golden State’s 31-point win over the Lakers Wednesday that the depth will help lighten the load for starters on some nights.
“Tomorrow night, I’ll look to have a solid game, a bigger game,” said Iguodala, who had seven points, four rebounds and four assists in his debut. “Tonight was light.”
Warriors swingman Harrison Barnes (foot) is not expected to play and big man Festus Ezeli (knee surgery) is out… The Clippers are 14-15 in home openers since moving to Los Angeles in 1984-85… Crawford is four 3-pointers away from surpassing Tim Hardaway for No. 16 all-time in 3-point makes… Golden State won the season series last year, 3-1… When Rivers played for the Clippers he was traded to the Knicks in exchange for point guard Mark Jackson, who is now the Warriors head coach. Both men were members of Clippers playoff teams… Jordan, who had a double-double against the Lakers, is seeking double-doubles in back-to-back games for the fifth time in his career. He’s never had more than two in a row…
THEY SAID IT
Blake Griffin: “You want to come back and play well. I think we’ll be ready.”
COMING AND GOING
LAST TIME OUT