The Nets were without four starters, and the Clippers got a scare from one of theirs.
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Blake Griffin finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds after rolling his left foot in the third quarter, and the Clippers pulled out a 110-103 victory over the short-handed Nets on Saturday night to go 5-0 at home.
Griffin went down by himself with 7:30 to go in the third and got up hobbling. He left the court to be examined by the training staff before returning 2 1/2 minutes later.
”I just came down normal and felt something in the back of my ankle,” he said. ”It scared me not knowing exactly what it was. It’s better than it was but not normal. I can put full weight on it without unbearable pain.”
J.J. Redick added 26 points, DeAndre Jordan had 16 rebounds, Chris Paul added 12 points and 13 assists, and Jamal Crawford had seven of his 13 points in the fourth for the Clippers, who kept the Nets winless against them in Los Angeles since Nov. 15, 2010.
Paul said he got nervous knowing Griffin had gone down.
”I need him like none other,” he said.
The Nets played without injured starters Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, leaving Joe Johnson as the only regular in the lineup.
”It was definitely a winnable game,” said Johnson, who had 13 points. ”We had the game right where we wanted to with about 2 1/2 minutes left. We just didn’t get those key stops and their guys made free throws down the stretch.”
The Clippers had to hold off an inspired bunch of subs coming off an overtime win at Phoenix a night earlier.
Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee scored 19 points each, and Alan Anderson had 15 for the Nets, who fell to 1-5 on the road under rookie coach Jason Kidd.
”I was well aware and everybody else was aware it was kind of a trap,” Griffin said. ”We had all of our starters and they didn’t. They played hard, they made it tough.”
The anticipated reunion of new Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers and his former Boston stars Garnett and Pierce was scuttled. Neither of the Nets’ players was at the game. The trio teamed to lead the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship.
Rivers said when he was in Boston that Garnett and Pierce wouldn’t come to games they weren’t playing in, and now they follow the same habit with the Nets.
”I thought that was actually funny,” said Rivers, who still texts frequently with the two players.
Byron Mullens and Crawford hit 3-pointers early in the fourth, when the Clippers led by six. The Nets got within three points three times before Johnson’s jump hook cut their deficit to 93-92 with 4:12 left.
”Those guys that suited up definitely gave me everything they had,” Kidd said. ”We just came up short, but the effort was there with the 10 guys that we had and we put ourselves in a position to win a game on the road against a very talented team.”
Redick and Paul sandwiched 3-pointers around a free throw by Griffin to stay ahead, 100-94.
Johnson’s running bank shot pulled the Nets to 104-101 with 36 seconds to go, but Jordan dunked and the Clippers finished off the game at the line.
Brooklyn opened the third with 10 straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Anderson, to go up 65-54.
The Clippers staged a furious rally, outscoring the Nets 20-2 in a run that had three 3-pointers – two by Redick and another from Mullens – for their first lead, 74-67, since the end of the opening quarter.
Redick scored 10 points and Mullens and Griffin added five each.
”If you’re down you play with a better sense of urgency,” Redick said. ”You’ve got no choice but to make a run. We want to get to the point where we’re playing with a sense of urgency for four quarters.”
Griffin blocked Plumlee at Brooklyn’s end and scored at the other end, getting fouled and hitting the free throw. Paul tossed up an alley-oop that Griffin threw down to ignite the sellout crowd.
But the Nets closed with a 9-2 spurt to trail 76-75 going into the fourth.
”I definitely saw a lot of heart,” Blatche said. ”We showed effort and came out with a lot of fight. We all chipped in in different ways. We were always aggressive on offense and defense. It was a learning experience for us.”
The Nets led 55-54 at halftime after blowing nearly all of a 10-point lead while being outscored 10-1 over the final 2:12. Paul scored five straight points and his steal led to a fast-break layup by Griffin, who got fouled and made the free throw.
NOTES: Garnett and Lopez have ankle injuries; Pierce has a groin injury; and Williams sprained his left ankle in Friday night’s overtime win at Phoenix. Reserve F Andrei Kirilenko was out with back spasms. … In the Nets’ six losses, they’ve been outscored in the paint. The Clippers had a 44-38 edge. … Paul has had at least 10 points and 10 assists in 10 straight games to start the season. … Nets F Reggie Evans had 11 rebounds against his old team. … Former Clipper Shaun Livingston had 11 points.