Notebook: Clippers 106, Bobcats 84



Posted Feb 27, 2013 1:55 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Clippers were without two of their top reserves, Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe, but with a starting lineup that features two All-Stars, they figured to have enough firepower to light up the lowly Bobcats anyway. And so they did. Blake Griffin finished with 24 points and Chris Paul distributed 13 assists -- most leading to flashy dunks by Griffin and DeAndre Jordan -- and the Clippers sailed away late in the first half for a 106-84 victory at Staples Center.

THE STAT: The Clippers recorded a season-high 34 assists on 41 field goals. Matt Barnes (seven) and Chauncey Billups (five) also produced individual season highs, helping cover for the absence of Bledsoe, the backup point guard who sat out with a sore left calf. Barnes also replaced Crawford (birth in the family) as the first player off the bench and he scored 17 points while matching his season high with four steals.

TURNING POINT: After trailing most of the first half against the league's worst team, the Clippers finally came alive behind a variety of lob passes from Paul to Griffin. Leading by three late in the opening half, Paul collected a loose ball and let go of a lob from the Charlotte 3-point line. The pass came in a slightly short, but Griffin still had enough spring to catch the ball on the way up and throw it down for 50-45 lead. Josh McRoberts then checked into the game for the Bobcats and tried to body up on Griffin, but he spun off the Charlotte forward and slammed another lob from Paul. Griffin wasn't finished, culminating a fast break with another dunk for a 54-45 lead that L.A. carried into the half. Charlotte never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE: "We were out on the break and [Griffin] got a few easy ones over the top a few times and he got his energy and his rhythm back there."
-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

HOT: In addition to the All-Stars, Griffin and Paul, and the wily veterans, Barnes and Billlups, the Clippers received another splendid performance from Jordan, who made all six of his field-goal attempts and scored 13 points to go with four blocked shots. Gerald Henderson had the hot hand for the Bobcats, matching his season high with 24 points.

NOT: He might be the youngest player in the NBA, but Charlotte rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has held his own through the first four months of the season. Kidd-Gilchrist, who turned 19 in September, surpassed his season average of 9.1 points during the previous three games, but he went scoreless Tuesday night for the first time this season, missing his only two field-goal attempts while playing 22 minutes. Kemba Walker came into the game with four straight games of 20 or more points, but the Charlotte point guard shot 5-for-15 and scored 15 to put an end to that streak.

GOOD MOVE: Right up with all the highlight-reel dunks by Griffin and Jordan was a spectacular play by Billups that gave the Clippers the lead for good. Walker had driven under the Charlotte basket and attempted to pass the ball out toward the top of the key, but Billups intercepted the pass and set out on a fast break. Billups, who was forced into backup point guard duty with the absence Bledsoe, pulled up at the top of his 3-point line and made a left-handed behind-the-back pass to a cutting Jordan, who finished with one of the 10 first-half slam dunks for the Clippers, giving them a 43-42 lead with 3:50 remaining in the first half.

QUOTABLE II: "In games like this, with a day in between, I can push my minutes up. I'm going to keep pushing it up all the time and get ready for that run."
-- Chauncey Billups

BAD MOVE: Henderson made his first five field-goal attempts, all in the game's first five minutes, helping the Bobcats to their early lead. Instead of continuing to feed the hot hand, Walker looked elsewhere on the next three possessions, just long enough for Henderson to cool off.

NOTABLE: Clippers reserve forward Lamar Odom shot 2-for-3 from 3-point range, the second time this season he has made multiple 3s in a game and the first time he has made at least one in back-to-back games since last February. ... Griffin has recorded at least 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists in six consecutive games. Only David Lee of the Warriors has a longer streak this season (nine). ... The Bobcats fell to 6-6 when leading after the first quarter.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Thursday @ Indiana, Friday @ Cleveland, Sunday vs. Oklahoma City. For the Bobcats, Friday @ Utah, Sunday @ Sacramento, Monday @ Portland.