Blake Griffin's rookie season was full of nights when he burst out of the gates only to fade late. Although no single Hornet defender could match his size and speed, Griffin was visibly frustrated by physical double teams, wearing him down with pressure and contact. After revving up the crowd with an early dunk over Public Enemy Jason Smith, Griffin was barely heard from again.
So much for getting Chris Paul a little rest. With the Clippers down 11 midway through the fourth, and their dreams of home-court advantage hanging in the balance, Paul orchestrated a decisive 26-8 run on which he either scored or assisted on all but one basket. Despite a gritty effort from Eric Gordon, Paul left little doubt which team ended up with the superior guard.
After months struggling to escape comparison with the injured Chauncey Billups, Randy Foye has emerged as the team's most trusted deep threat, shooting 3-pointers at an unconscious 46 percent clip in April. Most impressive on Sunday night was Foye's ability to start hot, and then cool way down -- at one point missing six consecutive shots -- before burying three key 3's in crunch time.
Eric Gordon, playing in L.A. for the first time since being traded last summer, was introduced to a round of warm applause. That enthusiasm dimmed noticably once Gordon began doing his familiar Human Cannonball number on the Clippers, barreling into the lane and drawing fouls. Al Farouq Aminu, who remains intriguing but incomplete, showed nice touch above the rim on two key putbacks.
If the Hornets are tanking -- and moves to shut down Chris Kaman and Jarett Jack imply that they are -- someone in the front office should tell Monty Williams. At a time when many teams have packed it in, the Hornets clearly relished a physical game against a team fighting for home court.