Five takeaways from the Clippers' win over Charlotte Hornets, 99-92

Five takeaways from the Clippers' win over Charlotte Hornets, 99-92
The Clippers' DeAndre Jordan and the Hornets' Jason Maxiell fight for a rebound during a game Tuesday at Staples Center. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Here are five takeaways from the Clippers' 99-92 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

1. A win is a win


There's not much to say about the Clippers win, in which they gave up a 22-point third-quarter lead to enter the fourth quarter only up by three, 77-74. The Hornets came to within a point of the Clippers multiple times in the fourth quarter, but they could never quite take the lead. Not too much of an accomplishment for the Clippers, though, considering the Hornets are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 29-37.

"Right now it's just win the game by any means necessary," Clippers guard Chris Paul said.

2. Clippers jump up two places in Western Conference

The win bumped the Clippers from seventh in the Western Conference to fifth. The Clippers (43-25) only have 14 games remaining in the regular season, so each win -- or loss -- holds a lot of weight. The Clippers have an identical record to the Dallas Mavericks, though they hold the tie breaker. The Clippers also have San Antonio nipping at their heels -- they're only one game ahead of the seventh-place Spurs.

"This is when you want to start playing your best basketball," Paul said. "We don't have that much time left."

3. Blake Griffin played better

Clippers' superstar power forward Blake Griffin played in his second game after missing 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery. He finished with 19 points on eight for 12 shooting, 11 rebounds, four assists and two turnovers. It was a much-improved performance from his first game back Sunday against the Houston Rockets, in which he had 11 points on four-for-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers. 

"I thought he was better, by far, tonight," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said.

4. Clippers were short-handed

The Clippers didn't have much depth in Tuesday's win. They were missing Jamal Crawford (right calf contusion), Matt Barnes (right hamstring soreness) and Jordan Hamilton (right ankle sprain). The Clippers' bench only had 18 points, 12 of which Nate Robinson scored.

"We didn't get much out of the bench as far as scoring," Rivers said. "...We needed somebody else, and tonight was Nate's night."

5. Back-to-back coming up

The Clippers traveled to Sacramento on Tuesday evening to play the Kings on Wednesday in the second leg of a back-to-back. The Kings are in 13th place in the Western Conference, 20 games behind the Clippers.