First it was the huge three pointer by Chris Paul to give the Los Angeles Clippers a five point lead. It was followed by some slick ball handling, showing John Wall he has a long way to go before challenging the best point guard in the NBA, who looked a tad rusty, but still better than anyone else, returning from his injury-forced absence.
I was 6 for 16 and Blake was 5 for 18. That’s not going to happen on most nights. The biggest thing is that we had 93 shot attempts and they had 77. That’s how we won the game — with offensive rebounding. It was cool to be back. I feel like it’s been the longest week, sitting out three games. But I still need to get my timing back and get it through my head that I can play.
Paul finished with 22 points and 11 assists, while Blake Griffin scored 17 points and grabbed 11. The Clippers destroyed the Wizards on the boards, grabbing 22 on the offensive glass, but also forcing 18 turnovers from the visiting team, creating 18 fast break points. Some of them were even led by Blake Griffin (3 assists), who rumbled his way through the court before throwing up an assist for DeAndre Jordan to make into an alley oop dunk, Lob City style.
Defense, not just offensive rebounding, was the key. The Clippers lead the league with 872 points off turnovers. Chris Paul had one steal, averaging 2.6 this season, and has at least one in 52 consecutive games, the league’s longest active streak. His career best is 108 straight.
John Wall with his 24 points for the Wizards made it look like their bench gave more than it actually did. Wall is a starter, just coming off the bench for now, but he’ll be returning to the starting lineup pretty soon. The Clippers had a relatively quiet day from their bench: Jamal Crawford scored only 7 points on an awful 3-13 night. Eric Bledsoe added 11 points, Matt Barnes scored 10 points and added 8 rebounds. Lamar Odom only scored 4 points, but grabbed 10 rebounds, 5 of them on the offensive glass. He’s averaging more rebounds than points this season on 19.5 minutes a night.
After two straight losses that ended the Clippers’ 17 game winning streak, the Clippers are back at their most dominant, one loss more than the Oklahoma City Thunder at the moment. They’ve won seven games out of their last 8, including three consecutive on the road before the win against Washington. Their next game is once again away against Golden State, the team that beat them by 21 points just less than three weeks ago.
With Chris Paul slowly getting back to himself and his rhythm, one interesting thing for the Clippers to feel good about is Blake Griffin actually looking pretty good from the line, making 7-10 from there, actually better than his field goal percentage, which didn’t happen too often in the past. Griffin is shooting 64.2% from the line this season, tied for his career best from his rookie season, while making 52.4% of his field goal attempts.