FINAL | March 6, 2013 | STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

Clippers

32

26

24

19

101

LOGO

34

32

23

28

117

 

RAFAEL GUERRERO

LOS ANGELES – With a back-to-back game in Denver following Wednesday night’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, it was imperative for the Clippers to record a victory and keep the surging Nuggets at bay in the Western Conference standings.

Blake Griffin made sure the team left Los Angeles on a high note as he recorded his third career triple-double and led the Clippers to a 117-101 win over the Bucks, sweeping the season series from Milwaukee for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

“Blake set the tone for us obviously with a triple-double,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I thought we moved the ball, we kept our turnovers down which was great. They do a good job with Monta [Ellis] and [Brandon] Jennings and obviously J.J. [Redick] now moving the basketball. We did a better job in the second half controlling their scoring a little bit.”

Griffin finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists in 32 minutes for the Clippers (44-19). He secured the feat halfway through the fourth quarter with his 10th rebound off a missed 3-pointer by the Bucks (30-29).

“Blake is capable of that every night,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said. “He’s one of those guys that command a double team every night and it’s a matter of us making shots. He gets double and triple teamed every night so when we make shots like we did tonight he has an opportunity to have a triple-double.”

The triple-double came after Griffin and Jamal Crawford connected on what may be the dunk of the year. Monta Ellis turned the ball over and Crawford scooped it up and headed off in transition with Griffin trailing. Crawford, ever the artist with the basketball, jumped and threw the ball up in the air with his left hand and then corralled it and went between the legs mid-flight and floated it over his shoulder for the All-Star power forward.

The oncoming Griffin then soared and picked the ball out of the air, throwing down a monstrous windmill jam to put the Clippers up by 17 points.

“I saw after I got the steal and hit it to him that there was an open field and I could pretty much do anything,” Crawford said. “He just windmilled it; that’s sick. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I started to get my steps together and I just went for it.”

What made the play even more amazing was the fact that Griffin had to adjust to Crawford’s artistry on the fly.

“Honestly I had no idea what he was going to do,” Griffin said. “I thought he was going to throw it off the backboard. Normally in a situation like that you are looking at each other like; ‘What are you going to do?’ But he didn’t look back so I was kind of stuck out there and then I saw him go between the legs.”

The Clippers never lost the lead from the second quarter on, but the Bucks kept finding ways to hang around, cutting the deficit to as low as five points in the fourth quarter. But the Clippers reserves erupted after that and helped power the team to 28 points in the final period, outscoring the scrappy Bucks by nine. The loss snapped the Bucks four-game winning streak.

“It’s all about will and I think that’s something we need to keep building,” said Paul, who finished with 14 points and nine assists. “Great teams in this league; they don’t get complacent. They keep playing the way that they play in order to get the lead and we need to find a way to do that.”

The Clippers scored 66 points in the first half, including 14 apiece from Crawford and Matt Barnes off the bench. Despite allowing the Bucks to shoot 52% in the half, they earned an eight-point lead, capped by a 3-pointer from Crawford off a drive and dish from Chauncey Billups with 1.3 seconds left in the second quarter.

Crawford and Barnes played a significant role in keeping the hot-shooting Bucks at bay early. They hit six of the Clippers’ eight first-half 3-pointers, including three on successive possessions by Barnes. He got an open look at a fourth straight, but his miss was cleaned up by Griffin, who threw down a right-handed dunk as the ball caromed off the left side of the rim.

“Jamal and Matt really got it going,” Clippers forward Lamar Odom said. “So when we play that pick-and-roll, spread out basketball we can really knock out shots.”

Crawford finished the game with a game-high 25 points on 11-for-16 shooting in 26 minutes off the bench. It was his fourth consecutive game with at least 20 points. Barnes added 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting and 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Clippers went 8-for-16 from 3-point land in the first half but trailed off in the last 24 minutes, hitting just 4-of-13 from distance.

NOTES

Griffin’s triple-double was his first since the 2010-2011 season. He recorded both of his previous triple-doubles that year, going for 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists against the Wizards on March 23 and then hanging 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on the Grizzlies on April 13. All three triple-doubles have been recorded at home… The Clippers scored 30-plus points in both the first and second quarter for the third time this season. They have scored 30-plus in multiple quarters of the same game 11 times this year…The Clippers bench outscored the Bucks bench, 56-24, coming eight points shy of their season high…Ellis, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, scored a team-high 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting for Milwaukee. 


LOOKING AHEAD:
 
THURSDAY, MARCH 7 SUNDAY, MARCH 10

7:30 PM
DENVER NUGGETS


 

6:30 PM
DETROIT PISTONS