FINAL | February 26, 2013 | STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 

Clippers

30

15

18

21

84

LOGO

24

30

28

24

106

 

ERIC PATTEN  

LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan put together an all-out assault at the rim Tuesday night, inciting a convincing win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

It started on the first possession, a lob from Chris Paul to Jordan on a back-cut, and ended after the Clippers had amassed 13 dunks overall, including a dozen from Griffin and Jordan, in their 106-84 victory at Staples Center.  

It was the sixth win in the last seven games for L.A. (41-18), all by double digits and all topping 100 points.

This time they did it without key reserves Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe. Crawford, the league’s second leading scorer off the bench, did not play after his fiancé gave birth to a baby girl Monday, and Bledsoe sat out with a sore left calf.

“Overall, it was a solid game for us,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We did what we needed to do.”

Griffin finished with a team-high 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists and seven dunks, including a dazzling final 1:36 to the first half in which he converted three in a row. Griffin’s close to the second quarter, which came off of assists from Paul, gave the Clippers a nine-point lead and sparked a dominant final 24 minutes.

“[Dunks] get the crowd into it and it gets us on the floor into it more to get another stop,” Jordan said. “It gets our bench energized. Those are really big plays that can turn the game around.”

According to Paul, who notched 13 of the Clippers’ season-high 34 assists, the Clippers turned things around because of their defense, which held Charlotte to 33.9% shooting over the final three quarters. And as the six-time All-Star has often said, when the Clippers get stops they are nearly impossible to stop in transition.

Jordan was as much of a part of that as anyone. He had 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting (five dunks) and blocked four shots, the most rejections he’s had since Nov. 17. Early in the third he swatted a turnaround jumper by center Brendan Haywood, igniting a fast-break opportunity that Griffin finished with a left-handed dunk off a shovel pass from Paul.  

Griffin was fouled on the play and as the whistle blew Jordan immediately turned to the Clippers’ bench and was yelling emphatically, his jersey eschew. It was a sign the emotional tide of the game had completely shifted, a welcome sign as the Clippers tried to avoid another letdown against a team near the bottom of the standings.

And after allowing the lowly Bobcats (13-44) to jump out to an eight-point lead in the first quarter on a 10-0 spurt, the Clippers ran away.  

“That’s what we talked about coming into practice Monday and shoot-around this morning was focusing on ourselves and doing the right things and running the offense the right way and running our defense the right way,” Griffin said. “And not worrying about what our matchups were and things like that. I thought we did a good job of that after that initial first quarter.”

Matt Barnes scored 17 points with seven assists and four steals off the bench in the absence of Crawford and Bledsoe. Caron Butler had 16 points, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Lamar Odom had six points, seven rebounds and three blocks. And Chauncey Billups, who started alongside Paul, assumed the role of backup point guard with the second unit, tallying five assists in a season-high 24:37.

“Chauncey is a point guard, one of the best to ever play the game, so it’s not like somebody’s in an uncomfortable position,” Paul said. “I think that tonight even though we were undermanned, everybody stepped up.”

The Clippers shot 12-for-22 (54.5%) from 3-point range overall, but the game was altered about 23 feet closer to the rim. The Clippers had 10 dunks in the first half, including a veritable show-stopping end to the second quarter when Griffin and Paul connected on three consecutive plays. Paul threw an alley-oop to Griffin from beyond halfcourt, then converted an alley-oop in an offensive set as Griffin spun off of his defender, and after a quick miss by Kemba Walker on the other end, Paul found Griffin diving to the basket for a right-handed tomahawk.

The final dunk gave the Clippers a 54-45 lead and left Staples Center buzzing seconds before the halftime horn.

NOTES

Odom made two 3-pointers for the second game in a row. It is the first time since a stretch from April 6-8, 2011 that he made two or more 3-pointers in consecutive games… The Clippers were 12-for-26 from the foul line (46.2%)… Charlotte was led by Gerald Henderson’s 24 points, including 12 of his team’s first 18... Both Bledsoe and Crawford will travel with the Clippers to Indiana… All 11 players who took the floor for the Clippers scored…

 



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