Five Takeaways: Griffin Returns from Injury
LOS ANGELES — In Blake Griffin’s first game since Nov. 27, the Clippers (15-19) led the entire way Friday night while improving to 3-0 against the Lakers (11-23) this season.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win 121-106 win.
1) Griffin returns from injury —
The last time Griffin played, it was against the Lakers. After missing 14 games, the Clippers leading man returned, and he was doing it all on the court, tossing lobs to DeAndre Jordan, rising up for poster dunks, and pacing the team in scoring. When Milos Teodosic returned from injury, he was placed on a minutes restriction to slowly bring him back. There was no such restriction for Griffin.
By the end of the first half, Griffin totaled 13 points in 16 minutes. By night’s end, Griffin finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in 32 minutes.
2) Over early —
One minute and 38 seconds into the game, a disgusted Lakers coach Luke Walton signalled for a timeout. The Clippers opened the game on a 9-0 run, ending with Milos Teodosic saving the ball from going out of bounds by throwing a no-look, over-the-head pass leading Blake Griffin to a dunk.
Right from the open tip, the Clippers were the better team. By midway through the quarter, the Clippers lead grew to 17. By the end of the first, they led 35-22, shooting 59-percent overall from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
3) Selfless play on offense continues —
Seven players scored in double digits for the Clippers, marking a season-high, with all five starters doing so. Blake Griffin led the team with 24, and off the bench Lou Williams scored 23, sinking 13-of-15 free throws, making it Williams 12th game with 20+ points off the bench, an NBA best.
DeAndre Jordan recorded another double-double, tallying 12 points and 16 rebounds. For the 15th straight game, Jordan grabbed double digit rebounds, the longest active streak in the NBA.
Milos Teodosic recorded 11 points and 7 rebounds. Montrezl Harrell scored 15 points. Austin Rivers and C.J. Williams added 13 and 11, respectively. Tonight’s well-rounded scoring performances comes after a team season-high 31 assists against the Kings.
4) Rivers suffers multiple injuries —
For a brief moment, the injury gods seemed to strike the Clippers again. With seven minutes remaining in the second quarter, Austin Rivers crumpled to the ground in pain. Rivers walked to the locker room with the training staff, later diagnosed with a left elbow contusion. Fortunately, a few minutes later, Rivers returned. As the game progressed, the guard seemed unaffected by the injury
Then in the third quarter, Rivers and Sam Dekker collided, and when Austin tried to run, he immediately grabbed his achilles. Per the team, Rivers suffered a right Achilles strain.
Rivers ended the game with 13 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds.
5) Harrell growing in role —
Following a season-high 22 points against the Kings, Montrezl Harrell excelled in just 16 minutes of play, finishing 15 points, while scoring efficiently on 7-of-9 shooting. Harrell just missed a double-double, securing 9 rebounds. In the month of December, he’s averaged 10.5 points per game, so far, nearly 3 points better than his season average.
What’s Next? — The Clippers tip off at 4:00 pm PST on New Year’s Eve against the Charlotte Hornets.