Rapid Reaction: Clippers 115, Warriors 89
January, 5, 2013
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers have long memories. They don’t forget when they feel as if they've been slighted or disrespected. They felt both when the Golden State Warriors beat them twice this season.
They didn’t appreciate how the Warriors celebrated as if they had won a championship after beating them in November. And they certainly didn’t like how the Warriors reveled in blowing them out when they met earlier this week.
Blake Griffin, in particular, disliked how the Warriors' bench mocked him after he hit the side of the basket on a 3-point attempt and how Warriors coach Mark Jackson called him an “actor” after he was fouled hard several times.
The Clippers and Griffin took out their aggression on the Warriors on Saturday in the form of a 115-89 beatdown that was uglier than the final score would indicate. The Clippers were up by as many as 39 points in the fourth quarter, and, before a timeout in the final period, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro had “No Mercy” written on his whiteboard.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
CP3 on fire
One night after putting the Clippers on his back and leading them to a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Chris Paul put this game away early with the best shooting exhibition he has had this season. He hit 10 of 12 shots, including five of six from beyond the arc, and finished with 27 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Almost as remarkable as his final line is that Paul played only 28 minutes. He exploded in the third quarter, scoring 16 points and hitting six of seven shots from the field in that period. Paul often is asked to be more aggressive on offense by his coaches and his teammates, and for the second straight game, Paul showed why they are right.
Despite not having Jamal Crawford, who missed his second straight game with a sore left foot, the Clippers finished with seven players scoring in double digits. In the absence of Crawford, who is a favorite to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, every Clipper stepped up. Willie Green played a season high in minutes with 38, and finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. Eric Bledsoe looks like he has fully recovered from his hip injury last month, scoring 17 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists and a highlight block on Jarrett Jack just before halftime. Matt Barnes added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists. It’s scary to think how good this team could be when Crawford, Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill are back in the mix soon.
Griffin understands he’s not the most popular player in the league. He’s a polarizing force you either love or hate. But like most of his teammates, Griffin keeps tabs on those who disrespect him publicly, and he did not forget the way the Warriors mocked him after a bad miss earlier this week or how Jackson called him an actor after he felt he was flagrantly fouled in the game. Griffin responded Saturday by finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Griffin actually helped spark the early blowout by scoring 14 of his points in the first quarter as the Clippers jumped out to a 23-point lead.