The Clippers made 6 out of 8 3-point tries in the first quarter, and then played solidly with the lead the rest of the game.
“That set the tone for us,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “They made a couple of runs, but we withstood it. Overall, I thought our ball movement was good.”
Their ball movement looked great as well as their defense, which had been a question mark for this team as early as two weeks ago.
“They made a couple runs here and there but for the most part we kept our defense consistent and every time it got close somebody made a big shot and a big play,” Chris Paul said.
The Clippers withstood a scary moment with 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter when Chris Paul got bumped on the elbow, and couldn’t return to action until the 4th quarter. Eric Bledsoe came in for him and scored 5 points while also pushing the pace for his team.
“You’ve got to prepare,” Bledsoe said. “I came back from injury and I’ve been working out and working on my game. I was always ready for the moment. When the moment came, Chris got hurt a little bit, so I tried to just fill the role and keep the lead and tempo going.”
Paul returned in the 4th and had an amazing between-the-legs dribble to juke his man and get an easy layup .
Blake Griffin had one his most well-rounded games of the year, scoring 24 points on 10 of 16 from the field, and then adding in 8 rebounds and 6 assists as well. It was Griffin’s 7th straight game with 20 points or more.
The Clippers answered a lot of questions with this 5-game home-stand, and now will have questions to answer on the road with the Dallas Mavericks and Pacific Division leading Lakers on the docket next week. Can the Clippers handle the road pressure? It won’t take long to find out.