Five Takeaways: Griffin, Clippers Finish Off Hornets In OT

Five Takeaways: Griffin, Clippers Finish Off Hornets In OT

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers (36-23) couldn’t put the game away in regulation ahead by five points against the Hornets (25-34) with 45 seconds left. A little extra time was all they needed, though.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 124-121.

Quote of the Night: “Me and Blake talk before every game as we walk out on the court about being aggressive, being aggressive, and he probably could have had more. He could have had 50 points. He’s a guy who’s capable of that every night, but he’s so unselfish.” – Chris Paul

1) Starters carry the load – On an off night for the Clippers’ reserves, who combined to make just 17 points on 5-for-21 shooting, it was starters or bust for the Clippers to succeed. And they came through.

Every Clippers starter finished plus-10 or better, and each of them played 35 minutes or more, led by DeAndre Jordan’s 43 minutes. Jordan was engaged all night, throwing down follow dunks, including one at the buzzer in the first half and another to put the game away in the final seconds of overtime. Jordan finished with 20 points, 19 rebounds and three steals, Chris Paul came a rebound short of a triple-double and Blake Griffin posted a season-high and game-high 43 points.

2) Griffin does it all – Griffin showed off just about every part of his game on his way to 43 points, not only setting his personal high this season, but also scoring the most points for any Clippers player this year. It was his eighth career 40-point game and first since November 2015 against Utah.

He hit three 3-pointers in a game for the first time in his career, including a go-ahead 3-pointer late, and yet it was his work inside that might’ve been most impressive, with four of his 10 rebounds on the night coming on the offensive end. He also added two steals and nearly put the game away in regulation as he continued to attack the rim and get to the line, and the Clippers never trailed after his go ahead and-1 bucket in the final two minutes of overtime.

3) Redick gets going early – J.J. Redick led all scorers with 19 points at the half, going 8-for-10 from the floor and 3-for-4 from long distance by halftime. Redick, who came into the night shooting 34.8 percent from the floor this month without any 20-point games, got his first Sunday night with 22 points.

Redick said it’s been a frustrating, and after any prolonged shooting slump some doubt creeps in, but he’s also someone who believes strongly in regression to the mean. Sunday was a strong step back in the right direction.

4) Walker awakens – The last time the Clippers played the Hornets, they held Kemba Walker to just 10 points. This time around, the Hornets’ All-Star point guard had 33 points by the end of regulation, and it was Walker’s five points in the final 45 seconds of regulation that sent the game to overtime.

Combined with Nicolas Batum’s 31 points, the Hornets backcourt gave the Clippers problems. But the Clippers got the last laugh, as Chris Paul helped force a turnover from Walker in the final 10 seconds when Charlotte had a chance to go ahead to put the game away.

5) Chris Paul in control – Paul nearly sent the Clippers past the Hornets in regulation, but the shot fell just off the mark. Despite a 4-for-18 shooting night for him, the star point guard, in just his second game back from injury, came just a rebound short of a triple-double and had no problem with his handles. On his way to 15 points and 17 assists, Paul recorded his sixth career game with at least 15 points and 15 assists without a turnover.

What’s Next? – The Clippers host the Rockets on Wednesday.