Rapid Reaction: Clippers 126, Warriors 115

October, 31, 2013
10/31/13
10:53
PM PT

LOS ANGELES -- Before the season started, Blake Griffin wanted the Los Angeles Clippers to be taken seriously. He wanted to send a message that the Clippers are more than just a highlight reel, that they are a championship contender.

So he killed Lob City. Well, at least the nickname.

"Lob City doesn't exist anymore," Griffin said. "Lob City is done."

On Thursday, Griffin and Chris Paul, whether they like it or not, brought it back to life and showed that America's most exciting city was just as thrilling as ever.

During the third quarter of the Clippers’ 126-115 win over the Golden State Warriors, Paul connected on a pair of lob dunks to Griffin that not only put the Clippers in control of the game but sent Staples Center into a frenzy.

To his credit, when Clippers coach Doc Rivers was told Griffin no longer wanted to hear the Lob City nickname, he smiled. "I want more lobs if we can get them," Rivers said. "That’s two points."

As good as the lobs were, they didn’t take away from the message the Clippers made with the victory over a team that has championship aspirations this season similar to theirs. It only served as an exclamation point to that statement and the first of four regular-season battles, and potentially more if they meet in the postseason.

How it happened: The Clippers took an 18-point lead in the second quarter and never really looked back despite Stephen Curry's best attempts at putting the Warriors on his back with 38 points and nine 3-pointers. The Clippers continually withstood Golden State’s runs and finally pulled away at the end of the game to claim their first victory of the season.

What it means: This was the Clippers team we thought we would see Tuesday night when it opened up the season against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers played with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that they’ll have to have if they hope to be a legitimate contender. The Warriors and Clippers figure to be battling it out for supremacy in the division and conference, so winning their first matchup, after dropping three of four to the Warriors last season, can’t be understated.

Hits: Paul played like an MVP candidate against Curry. He scored 42 points and dished out 15 assists, including a handful of spectacular lobs to Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. He became the first player since the 1985-86 season to post at least 38 points, 14 assists and 5 steals. He also became the second active player, other than LeBron James, to post at least 40 points and 15 assists.

Griffin played like an All-Star, scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, after having an off debut.

Misses: For the second game in a row, the Clippers' bench was unable to give the team much outside of Jamal Crawford, who had 17 points. The bench other than Crawford scored only eight points. Thankfully for them, Golden State’s reserves scored only 14 points.

Stat of the game: The Clippers outrebounded the Warriors 44-33 after getting outrebounded in the opener and having rebounding issues in the preseason.

Up next: No time for rest for the Clippers as they fly up to Sacramento for their first back-to-back of the season against the Kings. Sacramento won its first game of the season against the Denver Nuggets 90-88, and DeMarcus Cousins, who had 30 points and 14 rebounds, will be a handful for Jordan and Griffin down low.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Blake Griffin
PTS AST STL MIN
22.7 5.0 1.0 35.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Jordan 13.3
AssistsC. Paul 9.7
StealsC. Paul 1.9
BlocksD. Jordan 2.4