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Griffin, Paul lead Clippers past Hornets

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are spectacular on the same night, the Los Angeles Clippers can be special.

That was the case on Monday night as the Clippers rolled past the reeling Charlotte Hornets 113-92.

Griffin barely missed his first triple-double of the season with 22 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, and Paul added 22 points and a season-high 15 assists as the Clippers won for the third time in four games on their current seven-game road trip.

“Blake was sensational tonight,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They both were, really. When they both play well on the same night, we’re probably going to win.”

The performance came one night after Griffin was held to a season-low 12 points and four rebounds in a 107-91 loss at Memphis on Sunday. Clearly, he was motivated to bounce back strong, scoring 10 points in the first quarter to set the tone for the night.

“It’s very important for us to set the tone, especially offensively,” Griffin said. “It kinda goes as we go. So we have to be aggressive and we have to get things going, especially when things aren’t going well. I made an effort to try to get to the rim, especially early in the game, and it was there tonight.”

Paul, who was 10 of 16 from the field and had just one turnover against his 15 assists, said that he and Griffin went back to the basics after Sunday’s loss.

“We’ve been talking about it,” Paul said. “This is our fourth year together. Obviously your game changes and stuff like that but I think we both realized that our bread and butter used to be when I’d attack downhill and he was rolling to the basket. So we’re trying to mix that back in now, and just trying to be aggressive. Sometimes, you’ve got to impose your will, and I think he did that tonight.”

The Clippers (8-5) shot 51.1 percent from the field, hit 15 of 32 from 3-point range, and committed only eight turnovers.

They pulled out to a 14-point lead early in the third quarter, and then after the Hornets cut the margin to six with six minutes left, they exploded again and closed the game with a 25-10 run.

Jamal Crawford added 21 points, including five 3-pointers; J.J. Redick scored 17 with four 3-pointers; DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 12 rebounds; and Hedo Turkoglu scored 10.

“We made shots tonight,” Rivers said. “It’s a make/miss league. When your shooters make shots, you’re a better basketball team. I liked the way we played tonight. I thought we played with a better pace tonight, better speed and better movement. And when we do that, all of a sudden Blake ends up at the basket and our guards did a good job of finding him.”

The Hornets (4-11) lost their sixth straight and have now lost eight of their last nine.

They shot just 41.3 percent from the field and were two of 20 from 3-point range.

Cody Zeller led the Hornets with 17 points. Al Jefferson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, but scored only six in the second half. Kemba Walker scored 15, and Brian Roberts scored 11.

“They are an elite team, and they played like it tonight,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “We can’t lose our spirit. To be a good team in this league, it takes a lot of things, but your best players have to be prideful and hard players. Al and Kemba tonight showed again that they’re going to fight for this and they’re going to try to get this turned around. They are our two best players and they played hard the whole game.”

“It’s been tough for us,” Walker said. “But we have great guys on the team and we’ll get through it. At some point, things will come around for us. We work really hard as a group and I’m still confident in my team.”

NOTES: Both teams were on the second night of back-to-backs. The Clippers lost at Memphis 107-91 on Sunday and the Hornets lost at Miami 94-93. … Hornets F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (stress reaction right foot) missed his seventh straight game and G P.J. Hairston (right ankle sprain) missed his fourth. … The Clippers were without F Matt Barnes (left calf) and G Chris Douglas-Roberts (strained right Achilles). … Clippers C DeAndre Jordan played in his 253rd straight game. That’s the longest active streak in the NBA and the third longest in league history. The record is 595 straight, held by Randy Smith from 1972 to 1979. … The Clippers were playing the fourth game of a seven-game road trip. They’ll play at Detroit on Wednesday night, then will finish up the trip at Houston and at Utah. They will travel 7,231 miles during this trip. … The Hornets were opening a three-game homestand. They’ll host Portland on Wednesday and Golden State on Friday. … Hornets G Jeffery Taylor continues to serve a 24-game suspension. Taylor spoke to the media Monday for the first time since pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault. He said he would not appeal the suspension.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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