POSTGAME REPORT: CLIPPERS 98, HORNETS 105 - 11/26/12
LOS ANGELES – A record shooting night from beyond the 3-point line and a return from a four-game road trip were not enough to beat the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers made a franchise-record 18 3-pointers in 35 attempts, including a career-high and franchise-record nine from Caron Butler, but the Hornets nearly matched L.A.’s prowess from beyond the arc to win, 105-98, and extend the Clippers’ season-long losing streak to four games.
Butler, who went 6-for-8 from 3-point range in the third quarter and 9-for-15 in the game, and finished with a season-high 33 points for the Clippers (8-6).
Despite Butler’s shooting effort, the Clippers never found a groove against the undermanned Hornets (4-9) missing Anthony Davis (ankle) and Eric Gordon (knee) and losers of seven in row coming in.
“An embarrassing game for us from the get go,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Give New Orleans credit. They outworked us in every aspect. We got nothing from our bigs tonight, nothing really from our bench, and nothing really from anybody. They set the tone.”
The Hornets were 15-of-25 from 3-point range (60%) and shot 50.7% from the game and led by as many as 17 before the Clippers made a late push to get as close as six with five 3-point attempts on one trip down the floor to cut it to a single-possession game.
“With [New Orleans] playing like that and us waiting until the fourth quarter to turn it on, it’s going to be tough for us,” point guard Chris Paul said. “We’ve got to play with more of a sense of urgency and understand that when you’re not a great team in this league, teams come into your city and it’s whatever, but we’ve got a target on our back and we’ve got to play like that.”
Greivis Vasquez. The Hornets point guard scored a game-high 25 points to match the most of his career and had 10 assists and six rebounds. While he committed a career-high eight turnovers, Vasquez seemingly made big plays whenever New Orleans needed them. He canned a 3-pointer deep in the shot clock over Chris Paul to put the Hornets up 100-87, a shot that effectively closed things out with 2:58 to go, despite a late charge from L.A.
Afterwards Paul said, “Greivis Vasquez, he was feeling good tonight. I think he’s on his way to his first All-Star Game.”
In a 2-minute flurry in the third quarter, the Clippers erased an eight-point deficit to tie it at 68. Butler made two of his six 3-pointers in the quarter, the second one leading to a timeout by New Orleans. From there, the Hornets put together a 13-2 run to close the quarter, taking an 11-point lead.
Butler, who had been slowed by an ailing right shoulder, had 33 points on 12-of-24 shooting, including 9-of-15 from 3-piont range. He also contributed six rebounds and two assists. It is the most points he’s scored since the final game of the regular season in 2009 when he was a member of the Wizards. It also is a Clippers season-high.
Paul. He had another stat-stuffing night going 9-for-14 for 20 points with eight assists, four rebounds and four steals, upping his season average to 2.69 (second in the league). At one point in the second quarter Paul took over the game, scoring or assisting on five out of seven possessions.
Al-Farouq Aminu. The former Clipper returned to L.A. for the third time since being dealt in last season’s blockbuster trade for Paul and finished with 10 points, four steals and a team-high eight rebounds. He helped the Hornets get out on the break, and managed three dunks, upping his season total to 26 (tied for fourth best in the league).
Jason Smith. Hounded by boos from the Staples Center crowd, which clearly remembered Smith’s flagrant foul penalty two against Blake Griffin last season, Smith led the New Orleans bench with 17 points and four rebounds. He also made a seven of the Hornets’ 18 free throws. The team went 18-for-23 from the foul line as opposed to 6-of-11 for L.A.
Hot: Everyone from 3-point range. The teams combined for the most 3-point makes in regulation in NBA history (33). The Clippers set a franchise record with 18 made 3-pointers and Butler made the most 3-pointers by one player in team history with nine. New Orleans was 15-of-25 from beyond the arc. Ryan Anderson and Vasquez each made five.
Not: Blake Griffin. After fouling out at the 2:36 mark, Griffin officially concluded his worst shooting night as a professional. He went 1-for-9 from the field, his only basket coming on an alley-oop from Willie Green in the third quarter. Griffin’s previous career lows were seven points and three made field goals.
“I just missed shots tonight,” Griffin said. “I missed shots. That’s on me. It’s not part of the offense. It’s not anybody’s fault, it’s my fault.”
Paul: "Our defense was just terrible. It was horrible. It’s almost embarrassing. The fact that teams feel like they can come down and score on us every night. We can’t play like that. We’re not going to win.”
Griffin: "We did a poor job rhythm-wise. After we got knocked back on our heels we did a poor job of playing relaxed and playing how we’re supposed to play.”
Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams: “When Ryan [Anderson] gets going like that, it opens it up for everybody. It was good to see Austin [Rivers] knock down a couple. Greivis [Vasquez] hit some shots and Caron Butler was amazing.”
Notes: Griffin went without a point in the first half. It is only the second time in his career he failed to score in a half. On March 12, 2011 he went scoreless in 11 second-half minutes against the Wizards… Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins were assessed flagrant fouls. Barnes and Del Negro also received a technical foul for arguing with officials… Jamal Crawford went 2-for-2 from the free throw line, bringing his streak of consecutive made shots from the charity stripe to a career-high 38.