Chris Paul
Clippers-Hornets Preview
Chris Paul

Clippers-Hornets Preview

Published Dec. 29, 2015 10:26 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Clippers have been able to weather the loss of their biggest offensive weapon by getting outsized contributions from their bench.

The Clippers will look for more production from their reserves as they try to win a third straight game without Blake Griffin while extending a recent history of success against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Chris Paul had 23 points and the Clippers led all the way in a 108-91 victory at Washington on Monday, extending their winning streak to three games, one off their season best.

Los Angeles (19-13) led by double digits most of the game, allowing Paul and the rest of the starters to sit the entire fourth quarter. The Clippers still managed to outscore the Wizards in the final 12 minutes as the bench finished with 54 points, led by Jamal Crawford's 21.


The reserves have averaged 49 points in Griffin's absence, up from 26 in the previous four games. Crawford, Wesley Johnson and Paul Pierce have been the biggest contributors, combining to score 84 of the 98 points.

Griffin, who is averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game, is out at least two weeks with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon.

"Our bench was amazing tonight," Paul said. "I was probably the biggest cheerleader because I was saying I didn't want any more action."

Charlotte (17-13) is seeking a third consecutive win as it wraps up a four-game homestand.

Kemba Walker scored 18 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Hornets to a 108-98 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. Walker played 42 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, and is among the NBA leaders in minutes per game.

"We were up four and he said, 'I'm good,'" coach Steve Clifford said. "We can't keep doing that with him and Nic (Batum), but at this part of the season where you want to get a cushion, especially with your January (schedule), you leave him in there and let him go."

The Clippers have won eight of the last nine meetings with Charlotte, including both last season. Griffin was a big factor in those victories, averaging 20.5 points and 13.5 rebounds, but Paul has had historic success against the club.

The veteran point guard is one of only three players since the 1985-86 season to average 15 or more points and 10 or more assists against Charlotte, posting 16.8 and 10.9 in 19 games.

Charlotte has shot just 41.2 percent from the field in the last nine meetings against the Clippers, including 26.8 percent from 3-point range. That's a bad omen for a team leading the Eastern Conference in 3-point attempts this season.

Indeed, the Hornets continued shooting 3s even after Clifford griped about his players' tendency to fire from long range. They were just 6 of 25 from behind the arc against the Lakers.

Batum (hand), Jeremy Lin (ankle) and Spencer Hawes (back) are questionable to play for the Hornets. The Clippers traded Hawes and Matt Barnes to Charlotte in June for Lance Stephenson.

Stephenson returns to face the Hornets after one disappointing season with the team. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 61 games for Charlotte in 2014-15.


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