POSTGAME REPORT: CLIPPERS VS HORNETS - GAME #25
|FINAL | December 19, 2012 | STAPLES Center, Los Angeles CA|
3 TIED: 2
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By Mirin Fader (Photo credit below: Varon Panganiban)
LOS ANGELES — Though the Clippers came into Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Hornets on a 10-game winning streak, the loss that came right before their historic stretch stood out: a seven-point defeat to the Hornets at home in late November.
The teams’ second meeting went much differently, as the Clippers wasted no time evening up the season series with a 93-77 victory at Staples Center, their 11th consecutive win.
“It was about executing our game plan,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We were disappointed in our performance against them the first time, and we wanted to play well tonight, but we always want to play well no matter who we’re playing.
“I was pleased with our overall energy. We did a very nice job talking on our defensive rotations and getting out to their shooters.”
Adding to the list of L.A.’s recent historic achievements was Chris Paul reaching 5,000 career assists. With 1:32 left before halftime, Paul notched the milestone on a feed to Blake Griffin for his ninth assist of the night. The play increased his team’s momentum as part of 11 unanswered points. The Clippers (19-6) would lead by as many as 16 points before the break.
Though the Hornets (5-20) opened up the third quarter on a 9-4 run that erased the Clippers’ 10 point halftime lead (48-38), the Clippers managed to pull away with 5:37 remaining in the period by outscoring the Hornets 16-6 before walking away with the win.
Difference Maker: Paul. The floor general recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 assists.
Moment of Truth: Jamal Crawford as playmaker. With 4:59 left in the third quarter, Crawford made an alley-oop pass to Blake Griffin for the two handed-jam. A few possessions later, he stole the ball and threw it to Paul, who for once was on the receiving end of a play, in transition for a two-handed dunk to put the Clippers up 65-50.
“Oh did I dunk tonight?” Paul joked after the game. “It was because Blake wouldn’t throw the lob to me in Detroit.”
“I thought I’d have to help him down [from the dunk] tonight” Griffin responded, laughing.
In the final seconds of the Clippers’ 12-point victory in Detroit Monday, Griffin had a fast-break opportunity and threw a conventional pass to Paul instead of a lob.
Stat Line of the Night: Griffin had 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting to go along with four rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
Robin Lopez. Lopez had a strong game inside with 22 points and nine rebounds. The center dominated the first quarter with 14 points and eight rebounds, going 7-for-10 from the field.
Crawford. Crawford scored 17 points and dished out five assists off the bench, giving his team an extra boost on the offensive end in the second half.
DeAndre Jordan. Jordan finished with 12 points and five rebounds, with an efficient first quarter by hitting six of his first seven shots.
Hot: New Orleans’ posts. Lopez and forward Anthony Davis combined for 38 points and 14 rebounds, together leading the comeback effort for the Hornets.
Not: Ryan Anderson. The forward who is averaging 18.6 points a contest finished with just seven points on 2-for-13 shooting from the field and 0-for-8 from long distance. Collectively, the Hornets shot just 10.5% from beyond the arc.
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On being a top team in the NBA:
Matt Barnes. “We know we’re the hunted now. We have to be prepared to come out every night. Teams are gunning for us, so we have to be prepared for that.”
Difference in tonight’s game:
Hornets head coach Monty Williams. “When we played here last time we hit shots and didn’t turn the ball over as much in key situations. We just didn’t make shots. Ryan [Anderson] couldn’t knock down a three tonight.”
On the Clippers’ defensive intensity:
Crawford. “We pride ourselves on defense. We feel like when we go out and get stops, its deflating for the other team.”
Notes: The Clippers shot 50% from the field as a team and assisted on 28 of their 37 field goals… New Orleans committed a game-high 20 turnovers…Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez finished with 10 assists and six turnovers. In two games against the Clippers Vasquez has committed 14 miscues.
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