FINAL | March 10, 2013 | STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA

Clippers

22

30

18

27

97

LOGO

32

38

28

31

129

 

ERIC PATTEN

LOS ANGELES – Prior to the Clippers’ matchup with the Detroit Pistons, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro said he hoped his team could get its “edge back.”

It certainly appeared so Sunday night at Staples Center.

The Clippers scored a season-high 129 points and put on a veritable offensive show, defeating the Pistons, 129-97, and moving percentage points in front of Memphis to regain possession of third place in the ever-tight Western Conference.

“Now is the time, probably in the last 10 games or so, when you really start jockeying for position,” Chris Paul said. “Right now, I think we’re just talking about building, making sure we’re playing the right way at the right time.”

Paul scored 20 points with 14 assists, recording his 23rd double-double of the year, Blake Griffin had a game-high 22 along with eight rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting (all dunks).

While playoff positioning and improving on what Del Negro deemed a lack of consistency were of the utmost importance Sunday for the Clippers (45-20), it’s likely the lasting memory from the victory will be Jordan’s spectacular alley-oop from Paul in the second quarter.

He caught the lob from Paul at the front of the rim as he slipped a screen from Lamar Odom, cocked it behind his ear and threw down a right-handed dunk over Pistons guard Brandon Knight. The force of the slam knocked Knight, who gives up more than 100 pounds to Jordan, to the floor and sent the Clippers’ crowd into a frenzy.

“I haven’t seen it yet, but from the oohs and ahhs from the crowd, I’m guessing it was really good,” Jordan said.

Jordan’s dunk was one of 13 in a game that was an apt follow up to what Paul called one  of the best practices of the season Saturday. The Clippers shot a season-high 62.5% from the floor, made 14 3-pointers, and assisted on 37 of their 50 made field goals.

Matt Barnes was 5-for-5 from 3-point range with 16 points. Willie Green was 3-for-3 and Caron Butler went 3-for-7 before leaving the game with a left elbow contusion.

In one stretch before halftime Barnes and Green combined to make 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions before Jordan’s dunk capped a 20-10 run that put L.A. up 58-36 with 4:31 to go in the half and they never looked back.

For Griffin, the effort, which included scoring 28 or more points in each quarter, was indicative of the kind of intensity the Clippers need on a consistent basis.

“Besides the margin, it was the way we played from the beginning,” said Griffin, who went 9-for-12 from the field and added five dunks to league-leading total of 164. “It’s something we’ve talked about the past couple of days in practice is turning up the intensity and getting back to playing aggressively, especially defensively.”

The Clippers forced 17 Pistons’ turnovers, leading to 28 points and out-rebounded Detroit, 35-28.

CARON BUTLER INJURES ELBOW, INJURIES MOUNTING

Butler sustained a left elbow contusion with 4:07 remaining in the third. He immediately grabbed at his arm and hunched over near the opposing 3-point line as the team went the opposite way following a runner by Jonas Jerebko.

Butler left the game a few seconds later when the Clippers called timeout. He immediately jogged to the locker room, followed by team training personnel.

After the game Del Negro said Butler will have an MRI Monday morning to determine the extent of the injury.

“He’s in some pain right now, so hopefully we’ll get some good news tomorrow,” Del Negro added. “He had an X-ray [after the game] and nothing in the X-ray showed up, but the MRI [will reveal more]. I just talked to him and he’s not feeling very good with his elbow, so we’ll have to see where he’s at tomorrow.”

Jamal Crawford missed his second game in a row Sunday with a sore left ankle and Eric Bledsoe sat out with a nagging left calf injury.

Prior to the game Del Negro indicated that Bledsoe’s injury has been an on-going issue since he aggravated it Feb. 14 against the Spurs.

“It hasn’t gotten better,” he said. “It hasn’t gotten worse. Hopefully, we’re going to get him better with this [schedule] and see if we can get him healthy. He’s been kind of battling that thing for a little bit and hasn’t been able to rest it for a long enough period so we’re going to try to get him a little rest.”

NOTES

It was the 31st time the Clippers have won by 10 points or more this season and 12th time by more than 20… They were three points shying of matching the largest margin of victory in Clippers history, a record set Dec. 1, 2012 against the Kings… The Clippers had 50 field goals in a game for the first time since March 25, 2009… Jose Calderon scored a team-high 18 points for Detroit… The Pistons made 26 of their 42 free throws… The Clippers’ 62.5% shooting was their best field goal percentage in a game since Nov. 3, 2004…

 

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