Griffin leads Clippers past Hornets, 105-91
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 19 points, Chris Paul added 16 points and nine assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the New Orleans Hornets 105-91 on Wednesday night.
Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford each scored 13 for the Clippers, who were playing one night after falling in overtime at Dallas. Chauncey Billups briefly returned from a right groin strain to score 11 points before leaving the game with the same injury. But the Clippers opened up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter and pulled even with Denver for the third-best record (49-23) in the Western Conference.
Eric Gordon scored 24 and Anthony Davis had 19 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
The Clippers combined for 13 3-pointers on 29 attempts, with Billups and Crawford each hitting three.
Robin Lopez scored 13 for New Orleans, which outshot Los Angeles overall, 49.3 percent (35 of 71) to 46.6 percent (34 of 73). But New Orleans missed 10 of 14 from deep and turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 20 Clippers points.
Los Angeles led by 11 early in the third quarter after Willie Green hit a 3 and Griffin added a couple free throws, but Gordon and Davis helped the Hornets close the gap. Gordon had 12 points in the period, hitting a couple difficult driving floaters, one as he was fouled. Davis hit all five of his shots in the period, including several midrange jumpers.
Davis also converted a layup as he was fouled on a feed from Gordon, and Gordon’s free throw cut the Clippers lead to 79-77 heading into the fourth quarter. But the Clippers soon were back up by 10 after Eric Bledsoe and Matt Barnes each hit 3s during an 8-0 run that made it 89-79.
The Clippers’ lead grew to 98-85 after Griffin hit a short running hook and added a free throw with 4:27 left, and New Orleans did not threaten after that.
There were eight ties and 14 lead changes in a close first half in which neither team led by more than eight points. Lopez established himself early for New Orleans with 11 first-half points, mostly inside with a short baseline jumper mixed in.
New Orleans led 37-30 after Brian Roberts hit consecutive 3s. Then Paul, who had a quiet first quarter, started to get more involved.
He set up Billups’ 3 for one of his five second-quarter assists and added and jumper and foul shot.
As the half came to a close, the Clippers made four straight 3s — two each by Butler and Billups — including one that Billups banked off the backboard. The shots resulted in a 12-3 run to close the quarter, putting Los Angeles ahead 56-48 at halftime.
NOTES: DeAndre Jordan had 11 rebounds to go with a fast-break alley-oop jam on a lob from Paul. … The fans in courtside seats included Davis’ college coach, Kentucky’s John Calipari, as well as actress Lori Loughlin and Saints head coach Sean Payton. … The Clippers continue their road trip Friday at San Antonio. … The Hornets continue their home stand Friday against Miami.