Rapid Reaction: Clippers 108, Pelicans 95

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
10:12
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- The popular notion that all Blake Griffin does is dunk is a convenient one to continue perpetuating.

After all, Griffin's dunks are still the plays that will be seen on the highlight shows after the games and the photos that will be plastered in newspapers and online the next day.

There isn't much room for highlights of 16-foot shots, bounce passes or free throws, but that's exactly what has made Griffin a well-rounded player this season and better than he has ever been before.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 108-95, and Griffin had 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He was 2-of-3 on 3-pointers and 3-of-4 on free throws. Griffin's five assists came in the first quarter when it looked as if he were on pace for a triple-double, but he only played 31 minutes before fouling out.

Griffin's doubters and skeptics will not go away overnight, but if they've watched him this season, it's becoming harder and harder to make the argument that all Griffin does is dunk.

How it happened: The Clippers began to pull away during the third quarter, taking an 18-point lead during the period after going on a 20-9 run to take control. After going up by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter, most of the Clippers' starters were able to take the rest of the night off.

What it means: After a rocky start to their trip, the Clippers have now won three in a row and four of their last five, and still have the best in-conference record in the West at 12-3.

Hits: As impressive as Griffin was, DeAndre Jordan, who had 14 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots, was just as good. Jordan was 6-for-6 from the field and controlled the paint for most of the game.

Misses: Stephen Jackson struggled in his second game with the Clippers, missing all four of his shots, including two from beyond the arc in just 11 minutes off the bench.

Stat of the game: The Clippers shot 86.1 percent from the free throw line and once again Griffin (3-for-4) and Jordan (2-for-4) held their own. The Clippers will never be a great free throw shooting team, but they’ve showed signs of improvement this month.

Up next: The Clippers have back-to-back days of practice at home for the first time since late November before facing the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. The Nuggets are 14-10 this season and third in the Northwest Division. It will be the first matchup this season between two of the top four seeds in last season's Western Conference playoffs, with both exiting earlier than most expected.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Blake Griffin
PTS AST STL MIN
23.1 3.5 0.5 35.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Jordan 12.2
AssistsC. Paul 9.9
StealsC. Paul 2.1
BlocksD. Jordan 2.5