Game #2 | October 31, 2013
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
After watching their early double-digit lead wobble a little against the Golden State Warriors, the Clippers threw a few haymakers in the third quarter of their wild 126-115 victory.
Blake Griffin converted three consecutive alley-oops from Chris Paul, one each seemingly topping the other. The first extended the lead back to 14 and by the time he flushed down the third one, a one-handed catch at the right of the rim on a full sprint, the arena was at full throat.
So was DeAndre Jordan, who crouched and let out a roar that was drowned out by the 95th consecutive sellout crowd to attend a Clipper home game.
“It started on defense,” Griffin said of the 30-second stretch of three dunks. “That’s what got us going.”
Said Ryan Hollins: “That’s the way we have to play with that energy, that effort. Blake getting out and running and Chris throwing that that’s when we’re at our finest.”
The Warriors made their way back as close as eight, but Paul unlike any player in NBA history before him, closed the door.
Or slammed it shut.
Paul scored 15 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter. He was game for a shootout with Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who had 38 points of his own. But it was Paul who helped the Clippers hold on.
He added 15 assists, including a brilliant pass for a J.J. Redick 3-pointer with less than three minutes to go that put L.A. up a dozen and the lobs to Griffin, and six steals. He is the first player in NBA history since 1985-86 to have at least 42 points, 15 assists and six steals in a single game. It was also one shy of his career high in points and the most by a Clippers player since Griffin had 47 in Jan. 2011.
To top it off, he tied up Curry to force a jump ball with the Warriors (1-1) in desperation mode.
“I was a little bit more aggressive tonight,” Paul said. “I looked for my shot and the ball screen. I tried to be aggressive on defense.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was a little more expressive when it came to Paul’s performance. “He was awesome,” Rivers said. “We had that one stretch where we struggled, I called a timeout and we got back to running our offense. That’s so important for us. It’s so easy to guard if we stand around, but Blake came out and made a layup. [Paul] just did a good job running the team.”
The Clippers (1-1), led by Paul, Griffin and Jordan, played with a different passion, a furor in Thursday’s home opener that was absent earlier in the week. What a difference two days makes.
There was a shoving match between Jordan and Andrew Bogut, the spirited scoring outburst by Paul, and reemergence of Jamal Crawford as a go-to scorer in the fourth quarter.
Crawford scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth, helping Paul put the game away.
“We withstood their run,” Crawford said. “I think it wasn’t just one guy. Obviously, Chris had a lot of points tonight, but other guys stepped especially in key moments. Like I’ve said [before], there’s always that moment of truth where it can go either way and we hit some timely baskets as a team.”
And, of course, there was Griffin and Jordan.
The dynamic frontcourt, who the Clippers are hoping to ride to an extended postseason run, answered the call after what they termed a “disappointing” season-opening loss to the Lakers. Jordan had nine points and 17 rebounds (28 in two games). And Griffin, who fouled out with 3:53 left in the fourth, had 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
The trio of Paul, Jordan and Griffin also went to the foul line 37 times combined. The Clippers were 33-of-50 (66.0 percent) overall on the night. The number of foul shots (83 between the two teams) was indicative of a chippiness that seemed to carry over from a year ago when the Clippers lost three out of four games in the series, including two by double digits.
“We were just trying to come out and protect home court,” Jordan said. “But we remember that we lost to these guys three times and how the games went.”
“The way we lost. The amount of points that we lost by and we remember things like that. And that was one of the first things Doc reminded us of when he got the job, ‘Golden State smacked us last year.’ We definitely remembered that.”
The Clippers scored 68 first-half points. They scored 68 or more points in a half just four times in 82 games last season… The Warriors arrived at their team hotel at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, according to Head Coach Mark Jackson after their plane had a mechanical malfunction the night before… Golden State went 8-of-10 from the field then proceeded to miss seven of their next eight shots… The Clippers out-rebounded the Warriors, 44-33… Redick scored 17 points… Curry had 11 of Golden State’s 25 turnovers. The miscues led to 28 Clippers points… Griffin, Paul and Jordan addressed the crowd prior to the game, thanking the fans for their support in advance of the coming season…
Clippers point guard Chris Paul when asked to evaluate his 42-point, 15-assist, six-steal performance:
“I just sat down here and saw the stat sheet for the first time and look right here, six turnovers. That’s ridiculous. That means six times I didn’t give us an opportunity to score. At the end of the day as a point guard you evaluate yourself on wins and losses, but I’m big on turnovers. I hate turnovers. That’s the first thing I saw.”
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on the altercation with Andrew Bogut that occurred in the second quarter:
“He fouled me and I thought he followed through a little bit. And I’m definitely going to protect myself at all times. That’s really it. It didn’t escalate anymore. Nothing else happened.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin on whether or not his three consecutive alley-oops could be viewed as a turning point in the game:
“I thought we did a good job throughout the game defensively, but that was a point where we stretched the lead and did some things defensively that we were trying to do.”
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on Chris Paul’s performance:
“He played a great game. He picked them apart. He scored when he needed to. He was aggressive the whole night. When he’s playing like that we’re tough to beat.”
Warriors forward David Lee on the Clippers’ offense:
“A huge part of it was their ability to get out on the break. They had one time were they had three or four lobs on the break and if that two minute span doesn’t happened, we’re right there at the end of the game as poorly as we played.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on earning the first win of the season:
"It’s nice, I mean if it didn’t happen we’d have another one tomorrow. But it’s always nice to get one. Like I’ve said before, we have a long way to go. I really believe we’re going to be so much better later. And the fact that we can beat a good team tonight means more than just a win.”