THE FACTS: The Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the New Orleans Hornets 105-91 Wednesday night, getting back on track a night after losing to Dallas. Chris Paul had 16 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in his return to the city where he got his NBA start. He was helped by Blake Griffin's 19 points and Jamal Crawford's 13.
The Hornets (25-47) nearly won every statistical category that matters, shooting 49.3 percent to Los Angele's 46 percent while outscoring the Clippers (49-23) in the paint by 12. The Hornets had as many rebounds as the Clippers did, too. But it was Los Angeles' prowess from the outside that made the difference; the Clippers were 13-for-29 from 3-point range.
Los Angeles, fresh off of an overtime defeat in Texas, allowed New Orleans to hang around through three quarters. In the final frame, however, Los Angeles finished strong thanks to a big presence inside. The Clippers scored eight second-chance points on four offensive rebounds and got to the free-throw line for 10 shots, all of which helped them win the quarter 26-14.
Eric Gordon led the Hornets with 24 points while Anthony Davis pitched in 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Clippers now continue their voyage through the Southwest division, heading to San Antonio for a Friday showdown. Los Angeles sits only 1/2 game ahead of Denver for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. New Orleans must contend with a Miami Heat team that lost Wednesday night for the first time in 28 games.
QUOTABLE: "You should have seen last night on the plane and on the bus. Guys felt terrible. Games like this couldn't come fast enough for us. We just wanted to get back on track and I thought we did a good job right from the start."
-- The Clippers' Crawford
THE STAT: 28.6. That was New Orleans' 3-point percentage. On a night in which Los Angeles drained 13 treys, the Hornets had no answer, going just 4-for-14 from long range. The Hornets were close in every other major statistical category, helping them stick close through 36 minutes. But they couldn't match from long range. While the Hornets didn't hit a 3-pointer in the fourth, Los Angeles hit three.
TURNING POINT: The Hornets were within 81-79 with 11:14 to go in the fourth quarter after a Ryan Anderson tip-in. And then Los Angeles went on a run. Starting with an Eric Bledsoe 3-pointer, the Clippers rolled off a 14-4 run that all but put the Hornets down for good.
QUOTABLE II: "We just played a playoff team that knows how to play. I thought they pushed us a little bit tonight. I didn't see a physical presence in the paint. I thought our guys didn't back down but didn't match that and try to exceed it."
-- Hornets coach Monty Williams
HOT: New Orleans' Davis was quiet in the first half, going 2-for-5 for only 5 points, as he played in front of his college coach John Calipari. But in the third quarter, the Rookie of the Year candidate went 5-for-5 for 10 points.
GOOD MOVE: The Clippers held the Hornets' Greivis Vasquez scoreless by allowing Paul to get inside the third-year player's head. Slowed by an ankle injury, the Clippers trapped Vasquez and Paul harried and harassed him into three turnovers and five fouls.
NOTABLE: Los Angeles won in New Orleans for the first time since Jan. 8, 2007, a span of nine games. ... For the first time this season, no Hornet recorded at least five assists. ... New Orleans' Anderson didn't hit a 3-pointer for only the fifth time in 73 games. ... The Clippers own a 2-1 advantage in the season series. They'll be back in New Orleans on April 12.
UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Friday vs. Miami, Sunday vs. Cleveland, Wednesday @ Golden State. For the Clippers, Friday @ San Antonio, Saturday @ Houston, Monday vs. Indiana