|FIVE STARTERS IN DOUBLE FIGURES AS CLIPPERS DISMANTLE BOBCATS |
- ERIC PATTEN @ericpatten
The game was flashy, explosive, methodical, and precise and it was exactly what the Clippers needed to do against one of the league’s most undermanned teams.
Clad in baby blue uniforms as a tribute to the ABA’s Los Angeles Stars, the Clippers picked apart the Charlotte Bobcats in the first half Saturday night before igniting a series of highlight dunks on their way to a 111-86 win at Time Warner Arena.
The Clippers (17-8) are 4-1 on their current six-game road trip and moved to 7-5 away from Los Angeles. All five starters scored in double figures, while playing 30 minutes or less. By the third quarter, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin had already amassed double-doubles.
“We got into the game after a few minutes,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We controlled the tempo of the game and I thought we got some easy plays, especially with our defense so that was good.”
The game was a homecoming for Paul, who grew up in nearby Winston-Salem. He easily totaled 18 points with 14 assists and five rebounds and had more than 150 friends and family in attendance.
“It’s always a lot of fun to come back here at home, especially the way the team has been playing,” the All-Star point guard said.
Paul also helped set up some of the most spectacular plays of the night.
He had a lob to Jordan (11 points, 12 rebounds), a long pass to Griffin for a windmill throw down on the break, and a pick and roll feed to Griffin for a two-handed dunk on the left baseline. The best, however, came on a half-court possession late in the third quarter. Griffin caught a behind-the-back bounce pass from Paul and took off about 12 feet from the basket to throw down a right-handed tomahawk dunk.
“Anytime we can get plays like that to get our team motivated and get Blake going, it’s a positive thing,” Jordan said.
Griffin finished the night with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He also converted 7-of-8 from the free throw line. In four games since altering his routine at the line, Griffin has made 22-of-27.
The Clippers started pulling away from Charlotte in the early stages of the second quarter. Foye hit a 3-pointer from straightaway after Paul slipped into the paint and tossed a chest pass back to his wide-open shooting guard to make it 36-24. L.A. never looked back.
During the stretch, Mo Williams made three of his first four shots for seven points. The Clippers super-sub is coming off a tough couple of days. After playing through a stomach virus in Philadelphia Friday, he flew with the team to Charlotte before departing with his brother to Jackson, MS to attend his grandfather’s funeral. He arrived at the arena just in time for tipoff and ended the game with nine points to lead the Clipper bench.
The first points of the third quarter came on a baseline 13-footer by Jordan. After making the shot, he ran back to the defensive end, staring at his left hand.
“He squared up, looked at the goal, and it was a made shot, so you can’t argue with the result,” Griffin said.
It was the first shot outside of the paint that the energetic center has made all season.
“I don’t shoot many jump shots,” Jordan added, smiling. “So any jump shot I shoot, I’m going to think it’s a three.”
The Clippers are 2-0 when wearing their Los Angeles Stars uniforms… Charlotte played without starting guards D.J. Augustin (toe) and Gerald Henderson (hamstring)… Griffin leads the NBA with 70 dunks this year… Former Clipper Corey Maggette had 12 points… Second-year guard Eric Bledsoe made a jumper from 13 feet with 3:43 to go in the fourth for his first points of the season. He played 11 minutes and finished with two points, two assists and five fouls… The Clippers have won seven of their last nine games… They shot 52.6% against Charlotte and tallied 29 assists against nine turnovers.
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