Clippers have no problem with Warriors
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Blake Griffin already has seen plenty of valleys and peaks during his short NBA career. His favorite experience has been over the past three quiet weeks, when his Los Angeles Clippers steadily built the foundation of a solid team.
Griffin added another superlative to his remarkable rookie season, reaching double figures in points and rebounds for a club-record 23rd consecutive game. The Clippers had little trouble with the high-scoring Warriors, who beat them during Los Angeles' 1-13 start to the season - a stretch that seems far away to Griffin now.
''The best part about all of it is we've played consistently and played well during this stretch,'' Griffin said. ''It's changed from the beginning of the season, where it seemed like we were losing every night for a different reason. Now we're winning a different way every time. It's a great feeling.''
Baron Davis had 17 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who have roared to life after sitting at 5-21 in mid-December.
With the inside-outside punch of Griffin and Gordon, Los Angeles sped past the Warriors with an 18-4 run to close the second quarter, taking a lead that never dipped to single digits in the second half.
''I always believed this team could make these strides and get a whole lot better,'' Davis said. ''I think this is just the beginning of what we can be, especially because of the young guys who are getting the opportunity to start, and playing a lot of close games. We know we have the capability of being a good team.''
DeAndre Jordan added nine points and 13 rebounds as the Clippers played with the reckless, exciting style that's becoming their trademark under first-year coach Vinny Del Negro, starting with Davis' highlight-reel pass to Griffin for a dunk just 64 seconds in. Los Angeles alternates electrifying alley-oop jams and 3-pointers with boneheaded turnovers and defensive mistakes, yet the crowd-pleasing theatrics worked just fine against the Warriors.
''We have a lot of young players developing, and we're not nearly as consistent as we need to be on both sides of the court,'' Del Negro said. ''We got some good performances. Eric had a big first half, and Blake was dominant when he needed to be.''
Perhaps it's no coincidence Los Angeles has found its footing during a relatively calm stretch of games after a tough early-season schedule. The Clippers had the past three days off, and they've got two more days off before the Miami Heat visit Staples Center on Wednesday.
''We played them earlier this season, and they're a totally different team,'' Golden State's Stephen Curry said of the Clippers.
Dorell Wright scored 27 points and hit five 3-pointers for the Warriors, who also had won six of nine after a 3-16 stretch.
Monta Ellis, the NBA's third-leading scorer, managed just 13 points on 4 for 19 shooting. Curry also struggled, getting eight points on 2 of 13 shooting while missing most of the first half with foul trouble.
David Lee had just eight points and four rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, and Andris Biedrins went scoreless in 26 minutes before also fouling out of his third game back from a sprained ankle.
Golden State struggled in its final road game before a stretch with 13 of its next 14 in Oakland. The Pacific Division rivals will meet again Friday night in Oakland and back at Staples Center on Jan. 22.
''Other than Dorell, nobody shot the ball particularly well,'' Lee said. ''Steph and Monta didn't have their best shooting nights, but that's going to happen on the road.''
Curry barely played in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, but Wright kept the Warriors close with 15 points in the first quarter. The Clippers capped their decisive run with Davis' fast-break 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left, taking a 62-48 lead into halftime.
''When you turn the ball over 19 times and you don't give yourself a chance to have a good look at the basket, that's going to hurt you,'' Golden State coach Keith Smart said. ''We settled too much for long jump shots, so we didn't shoot well like we had been, and that played a big part in it.''
NOTES: Davis and Warriors F Vladimir Radmanovic exchanged angry words after Radmanovic fouled Davis midway through the second quarter. Teammates and officials eventually broke up their prolonged discussion, which Davis jokingly said was about their respective beards. ''I told him I had mine longer,'' Davis laughed. ... Clippers C Chris Kaman missed his 15th straight game with a sprained left ankle. The former All-Star hasn't played since Dec. 5, and the club hasn't indicated he's anywhere close to returning.