Clippers 103, Bobcats 88
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Blake Griffin might get 40 or more minutes on a regular basis now that Clippers scoring leader Eric Gordon is on the shelf for the next month because of an injury to his right wrist. For Randy Foye, his increased playing time is already assured.
Griffin had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Foye added 21 points in his third straight start for Gordon, and Los Angeles extended its home winning streak to eight with a 103-88 victory over Charlotte on Saturday night.
Griffin had his 38th double-double of the season and 32nd in 33 games, shooting 11 for 23 in 41 minutes. The team is 5-7 when he plays at least 40. The 21-year-old forward already has played 11 more games than he did two years ago at Oklahoma before going into the NBA draft at the end of his sophomore season.
''I think I'm kind of used to it now,'' said Griffin, the overwhelming favorite for rookie of the year honors after missing the entire 2009-10 season with a knee injury. ''But at the same time, I've got to do a good a good job of taking care of my body and getting rest and making sure I'm ready to go night in and night out through this whole process.''
The Clippers matched the 1992-93 squad for the longest home winning streak since the franchise moved from San Diego to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season. They won for the first time in three games since Gordon, their leading scorer, chipped a bone in his wrist a week ago in a 113-109 victory over Golden State.
''We took care of the ball, first of all,'' Griffin said. ''We had just two turnovers at halftime, which is huge. And seven turnovers for the game for seven points is unbelievable. It might be the best game we've had, as far as that goes. And we played pretty good defense at times.''
Baron Davis scored eight of his 12 points during a 1:19 span of the fourth quarter to help seal the Clippers' eighth victory in 12 games. Griffin tried to put an exclamation point on the win, but clanged a dunk with 4:31 to play after getting an alley-oop feed from Davis.
''I wasn't happy about it,'' said Griffin, who is scheduled to compete in the All-Star slam dunk contest next month at Staples Center. ''I tried to mask it with a smile, but it happens. Luckily we were up by a lot, so it didn't matter. But it wasn't something I wanted to do.''
Stephen Jackson and reserve Gerald Henderson each scored 14 points for Charlotte. The Bobcats are tied with Philadelphia for seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race, a half-game ahead of Milwaukee.
''We knew we were going to be a little flat tonight,'' Jackson said, referring to the Bobcats' emotional overtime win over Golden State on Friday. ''I knew guys were going to be tired. I was tired.''
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had just four points and four rebounds in 26 minutes after getting into early foul trouble, forcing Griffin and Foye to pick up the slack even more at both ends.
''I put a lot of pressure on myself to make plays and try to help us, especially now,'' Foye said. ''With Eric out, I'm that guy they go to on the perimeter - me and Baron kind of split it.''
Griffin led Los Angeles to a 57-42 halftime lead with 19 points and eight rebounds. They missed their first five shots from 3-point range before Foye and Ryan Gomes connected 30 seconds apart during a 16-2 run that extended a two-point lead to 52-36 with 2:55 left in the half.
''We got Blake going early because we wanted to re-establish him, Randy Foye got off to a good start, and we just pushed the ball and took the first good opportunity we going get on every possession and continue to apply the pressure on them,'' Davis said. ''And we concentrated on our defense.''
The Clippers, who were 11 for 29 on 3-pointers, got two from Gomes and one from Foye at the end of a 16-5 run that opened up a 76-51 lead with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
Coach Vinny Del Negro had all of his starters on the bench at the start of the fourth with a 23-point cushion, and the Bobcats used that opportunity to go on a 12-0 run that sliced it to 83-72 with 7:38 remaining. The last basket came when Clippers Jordan accidentally tipped the ball into the wrong basket after a missed layup by Kwame Brown.
NOTES: The victory was Del Negro's 100th as an NBA coach in the regular season, including 82 with Chicago. ... The Clippers are 8-5 in January with one game remaining, and have clinched their first winning month since November 2009 (8-6). ... This was the 16th time Griffin has missed 10 or more field goal attempts. The Clippers are 4-12 in those games, and 7-8 when he makes 10 or more shots. ... Because of the injuries to Gordon, Chris Kaman (left ankle) and Craig Smith (back), there were only three players on the Clippers' active roster for this game who suited up the last time they hosted the Bobcats on Feb. 22 and beat them 98-94 - Jordan, Davis and Rasual Butler.