LOS ANGELES – Another night, another convincing win against an outmatched opponent for the Los Angeles Clippers. This time, it was the Los Angeles Lakers who felt the Clippers’ wrath in a 133-109 route at Staples Center on Tuesday.
For the third consecutive game (all wins), head coach Doc Rivers got to sit his starters in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 34-point cushion after three. Chris Paul piled up a game-high 27 points in 25 minutes, DeAndre Jordan (12 points, 11 rebounds) had his 33rd double-double by halftime, and J.J. Redick was on point from the get-go, turning nine field-goal attempts and six trips to the charity stripe into 24 points in 18 minutes. Blake Griffin paced L.A. with eight assists to help the Clippers close within a half-game of the Utah Jazz in the race for the West’s last slice of home-court advantage in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.
Quote of the Night
Despite Staples Center being full of purple-and-gold partisans for a Lakers home game, it was Jamal Crawford who drew the most “oohs” and “aahs” on the night. His 46-footer to end the third quarter sent a shockwave through the stands.
But anyone who watches Crawford regularly—like, say Blake Griffin—knows that shots of that depth are well within his range.
“Honestly, this isn’t even like a cliche. Every time Jamal shoots those halfcourt shots, I know it has a chance, more so than probably anybody,” Griffin said. “And it’s weird because it almost looks like he’s just throwing it up there, but it always somehow either gets close or it goes in.”
It comes as some surprise, then, that Crawford’s halfcourt heave on Tuesday was his first make from 40 feet or further in five tries this season.
1. Three’s Company
The Clippers as a collective went bonkers from deep, draining 15-of-33 from the three-point line. J.J. Redick got hot early and finished with four triples. Chris Paul hit four of his own, including one to beat the halftime buzzer. Jamal Crawford wound up with three from deep—none more dramatic than that aforementioned rainbow to close out the third quarter.
But of all the Clippers to scratch from beyond the arc, only one set a personal milestone. With his lone long bomb in the middle of the first, Blake Griffin extended his career-high streak of games with at least one three to five games.
“Everybody’s kind of encouraging me to keep spacing the floor, keep taking them,” he said, “so I will.”
If Griffin’s going to match the franchise record for three-point streaking, he’ll have to keep shooting into 2017-18. Chris Paul and Matt Barnes share the mark at 30 games apiece; CP’s spurt ended two games ago with his 0-fer from the field against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
All in all, L.A. is now 27-16 this season when it connects at least 10 times from behind the line.
2. Clippers Crash Offensive Glass
Offensive rebounding has never been an emphasis for the Clippers under Doc Rivers. His edict has always been to stress getting back on defense over having his players chase their own caroms. This season, that’s landed L.A. at 23rd in the league in offensive rebound percentage.
That didn’t stop L.A. from grabbing 13 of its own misses en route to 15 second-chance points. Doc Rivers credited the energy and pace of his bigs getting up the floor for the extra attempts. Their effort changing ends has been pivotal to the Clippers’ recent turnaround.
3. Clippers Tie Season High
The Clippers’ 133 points against the Lakers tied their season high, set on Dec. 10 in a 28-point pounding of the New Orleans Pelicans. Chris Paul had 20 points and 20 assists without a turnover that day.
Paul wasn’t quite so prolific as a passer on Tuesday. He ended this latest tilt in the Hallway Series with eight assists and two turnovers.
But L.A.’s star guard did plenty of damage on his own. He led eight Clippers in double figures with 27 points on 15 shots (5-of-5 at the free-throw line) in just 25 minutes.
4. Jamal and Austin Jumpstart the Bench
The bench made up for a poor fourth quarter against the Knicks on Monday with one of its best performances the season just 24 hours later. The Clippers’ second unit turned what had been a nine-point edge at the end of the first quarter into a 27-point casm come the five-minute mark of the second.
First it was Jamal Crawford, who scored eight straight to open the frame. Then it was Austin Rivers, who poured in seven quick points of his own on two layups and a triple.
By the end of the night, Crawford had 15 points and Rivers had 18—the 11th time this season that those two shotmakers had hit double digits off the bench in the same game and the third straight.
5. Lopsided Hallway Series
What once was a house of horrors has become a home for the Clippers. They’re now 13-1 in their last 14 games at Staples Center against the Lakers, regardless of who’s hosting. Over that span, the Clippers have come out ahead of their co-tenants by an average of 18.4 points per game.
They’ll have one more opportunity to pummel the Purple and Gold this season when they play host at L.A. Live on April 1.