Forwards help power win for Clippers to make it seven in a row

Forwards help power win for Clippers to make it seven in a row
Blake Griffin won the battle of the big men Saturday night, finishing with 30 points. New Orleans' Anthony Davis had 26 points but also a season-low three rebounds. (Michael Nelson / EPA)

Anthony Davis extended his massive arms early in the third quarter, grabbing a lob and stuffing it through the basket.

About a minute later, Blake Griffin took a pass from Chris Paul in transition and drove for a ferocious one-handed dunk.


Back and forth the power forwards went Saturday night at Staples Center, exchanging one astonishing play for another.

Then came a most unexpected highlight, courtesy of the Clippers' J.J. Redick.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard drove around the 6-10 Davis for a reverse layup early in the fourth quarter, the play serving as something of a knockout blow during the Clippers' 120-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Redick's layup gave the Clippers a 21-point lead and prompted team owner Steve Ballmer to extend both arms skyward in celebration from his courtside seat. It also allowed Griffin and fellow starter Chris Paul to sit out the entire fourth quarter on a night the Clippers stretched their winning streak to a season-high seven games.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers joked afterward that he didn't think Redick was capable of such an athletic move.

"Neither did Davis or anyone else," Rivers said. "That may be a one-time wonder."

Griffin won the battle of the big men, finishing with 30 points on 10-for-15 shooting on the night he surpassed 7,000 career points. He also had seven rebounds and five assists.

Davis finished with 26 points but a season-low three rebounds for the Pelicans, who wiped out an 18-point deficit in the first half but were done once the Clippers went up by 25 midway through the fourth quarter.

"It was a team thing, we all crashed the boards," Griffin said of limiting Davis' rebounds. "We were just putting pressure on him on the offensive end and trying to account for him."

Paul was a dual threat with 18 points and 16 assists, and Redick made five three-pointers on the way to 21 points, his third consecutive game with at least 20 points.

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was a force in a handful of categories, blocking five shots and tying a season high with 18 rebounds to go with his eight points.

The most notable Clippers absence was not guard Jordan Farmar (back spasms), forward Chris Douglas-Roberts (strained Achilles') or forward Reggie Bullock (sprained ankle). Longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler announced on Twitter he would miss his first game in his 36 years with the team because of injury or illness.

"Can not believe I am not going to be there," tweeted Lawler, 76, who had surgery to break up what he described as "a large and troublesome" kidney stone.

Radio announcer Brian Sieman filled in on the Prime Ticket broadcast for Lawler, who is expected to return for the Clippers' game against Phoenix on Monday. Lawler has broadcast more than 2,700 Clippers games.


It looked like the Clippers were headed to another runaway victory after Griffin severely outplayed Davis in the first quarter and the Pelicans fell behind by 18 points early in the second.

"That first quarter on defense was as good as you're going to get," Rivers said.

Then Davis started asserting himself and New Orleans backup big man Ryan Anderson scored 12 points over the final 11 minutes of the quarter. When Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt made his fourth three-pointer with 28 seconds to go before halftime, the score was tied at 54-54.

Rivers said it was the most upset he had seen his players at halftime.

"Our guys really like to score," Rivers said, "but I think they're starting to understand the more stops you get and the more consecutive stops you get, the more rhythm you can build offensively."

Twitter: @latbbolch