Clippers 105, Hornets 91
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin made their share of timely plays
and otherwise enjoyed the perimeter shooting exhibition put on by
the Los Angeles Clippers’ supporting cast.
Even Chauncey Billups made a difference during the 13 minutes he
tested his nagging right groin injury. It added up to the kind of
comfortable victory the Clippers needed on the heels of an overtime
loss at Dallas a night earlier.
Griffin scored 19 points, Paul had 16 points, nine assists and
four steals, and the Clippers beat the New Orleans Hornets 105-91
on Wednesday night.
”With Blake rolling, and us spacing the court, if we make shots
we’re a tough team to play,” Paul said. ”It’s a good bounce-back
win for us, coming off an overtime loss, a tough game like that in
Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford each scored 13 for the Clippers,
who built a 13-point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter and
thereafter had little trouble finishing off a victory that pulled
them ahead of Denver for the third-best record (49-23) in the
”You should have seen last night on the plane and on the bus.
Guys felt terrible,” Crawford said. ”Games like this couldn’t
come fast enough for us. We just wanted to get back on track.”
Returning from a three-game absence, Billups added 11 points
before sitting out most of the second half, again because of
tightness in his groin.
”It was a little bit sore and I just want to be smart with it,
see the big picture,” Billups said. ”It’s frustrating being in
and out like that, but I just want to try to get healthy because
the only way I’m going to be able to help the team is if I’m
Eric Gordon scored 24 and Anthony Davis had 19 points and nine
rebounds for New Orleans, which had its three-game winning streak
”For the most part we forgot a bit about how we won these past
three games: Defending, moving the ball and playing with a level of
force that’s necessary to have a chance,” Hornets coach Monty
Williams said. ”Even when we scored, they were hard scores.”
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, 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.
”We kind of beat ourselves. We really didn’t move the ball very
well and we took tough shots,” Hornets forward Ryan Anderson said.
”We didn’t really battle. We just didn’t have it like we had the
last couple of games.”
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.
Yet 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.
”Our bench was amazing,” Paul said. ”That’s very important,
because down the stretch (the Hornets) tried to trap and tonight we
were able to make them pay when we found Matt in the corner for the
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
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, which saw
its 27-game winning streak end Wednesday night in Chicago.