Notebook: Clippers 94, Wizards 87



Posted Jan 20, 2013 2:10 AM

By Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Clippers point guard Chris Paul returned from a three-game absence because of a bruised kneecap Saturday night and played as if he'd never been gone. He finished with 22 points, including a back-breaking step-back jumper with 32 seconds remaining, and distributed 11 assists to lead the cold-shooting Clippers to a 94-87 victory against the visiting Wizards at Staples Center.

QUOTABLE: "It was cool to be back. I feel like it has been the longest week, sitting out three games. It felt good getting back out on the court, but I still need to get my timing back and get it through my head that I can play."
-- Chris Paul

THE STAT: The Clippers were 0-2 this season when shooting under 40 percent from the floor, and hadn't been held below that mark at home this season. The Wizards were 6-2 on the season when shooting a higher percentage than their opponent. Those trends didn't hold up, as the Clippers shot a season-low 36.6 percent from the floor and still beat a Washington team that shot 41.6. The Clippers helped their cause by grabbing a season-high 22 offensive rebounds.

TURNING POINT: Give the Wizards credit; they weren't going to vanish into the night against the Clippers. L.A. went ahead by seven with 6:33 remaining and it appeared that might finish off Washington, but a layup by Trevor Booker and a 3-point basket by Bradley Beal put them right behind within two points with 5:18 left. Beal hit another 3 and John Wall had a chance to tie the score at the free-throw line with two minutes on the game clock, but he only made one of two. The Clippers finally put the Wizards away when Blake Griffin scored on a spinning drive with 1:02 left, Wall turned the ball over on the other end and Paul hit his step-back 17-footer with 32 seconds remaining, giving L.A. a two-possession lead it finally maintained.

HOT: Clippers backup forward Lamar Odom was one of only three players for L.A. who made at least half of his shots, but he was even more effective on the glass. He grabbed 10 rebounds, half on the offensive end, giving him three straight games with double figures in rebounds. Odom only managed four points, leaving him one double-double short of 300 for his career.

NOT: Griffin made the shot that counted but otherwise had a poor game shooting the ball. He finished 5-for-18 and scored 17 points with 11 rebounds. He wasn't alone in his struggles from the field. Paul was 6-for-16, Jamal Crawford was 3-for-13 and Caron Butler was 3-for-9.

QUOTABLE II: "That's not going to happen on most nights. The biggest thing I look at is we had 92 shot attempts and they had 77. That's how we won the game, with offensive rebounding."
-- Chris Paul

GOOD MOVE: Paul is usually the lob artist for the Clippers, but Griffin showed he knows how to pass the ball above the rim as well. He grabbed a defensive rebound with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter, dribbled across half court and placed a perfect lob pass to streaking center DeAndre Jordan, who stuffed it through the rim to cap an 8-0 run and give the Clippers a 60-50 lead.

BAD MOVE: Wall had played four games since returning from a knee injury, but Washington coach Randy Wittman continues to bring the team's best player off the bench. Wall showed he's more than ready to get back into the starting lineup, scoring a team-high 24 points and dishing out six assists in 31 minutes.

QUOTABLE II: "We didn't win the game because we gave up 22 offensive rebounds for 20-plus second-chance points."
-- Wizards coach Randy Wittman

NOTABLE: The Clippers have won four in a row and 24 of their last 27. ... The Wizards fell to a league-worst 2-17 on the road. ... Griffin, who shot 52.1 percent from the free-throw line last season, was 7-for-10 from the stripe, putting him at 14-for-17 in the last three games. ... L.A. improved to 25-2 when leading after the first quarter.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Monday @ Golden State, Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City, Thursday @ Phoenix. For the Wizards, Monday @ Portland, Wednesday @ Utah, Friday vs. Minnesota.