There was a comforting familiarity to the final minutes for the
It was a scene that had played out numerous times in recent seasons but never materialized in the early going this season until Wednesday night at
"D.J. actually said to me tonight, he was like, 'Man these are the fourth quarters I miss, sitting down and cheering those guys on and getting to see them take over and play quality minutes,' " Griffin said after sitting out the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 114-90 victory over the
The reserves did more than log quality minutes, actually outscoring its starting counterparts, 60-54.
The successful start to the Clippers' seven-game, 12-day trip prompted team owner
"He said Bubba was going to give us golf lessons," Griffin said of Ballmer, who sat along the baseline during the game.
The Clippers reserves shot the equivalent of a 10-under-par round against the Magic by extending leads and making eight of 12 three-point shots. The Clippers made 12 of 21 three-pointers overall, a robust 57.1%.
When Hawes and Farmar opened the fourth quarter with consecutive three-pointers that extended the Clippers' advantage to 90-68, it became apparent that the starters would have the rest of the game off. And so would many of the fans, who departed in droves with 6 minutes 45 seconds left and the Magic trailing by 27 points.
Griffin (20 points) and Paul (16 points, nine assists) each played only 30 minutes, which could come in handy Thursday when the Clippers play Miami.
"We just passed up good shots for great shots, the ball went where it needs to go each possession," said Crawford, who made eight of 12 shots.
Former USC standout
Neither did the shooting struggles of Griffin, who received some encouragement from Rivers midway through the game after missing seven of his first 12 shots.
"We told him at halftime, 'If you're going to be great, you have to be willing to go 0 for 30,' " Rivers said.
Griffin didn't come close to that kind of performance, making three of six shots in the second half to finish eight of 18.
"Unfortunately, I didn't make many, but they'll fall," Griffin said. "It's not something that I'm worried too much about."
There were plenty of reasons for optimism on a night the Clippers' reserves made themselves at home in the team's first game this season outside California.
"Let's hope at some point it becomes a habit," Rivers said, "that when our bench comes in, we're better."
When: 5 p.m. PST
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena.
On the air: TV:
Records: Clippers 6-4;
Record vs. Heat (2013-14): 0-2.