Scrappy Clippers fend off the Hornets, 99-95

When the Hornets' Chris Paul's pass bounced off the left knee of David West with 5.4 seconds remaining, Blake Griffin let loose about four weeks of frustration in his short NBA life and just yelled.

And when it ended, with the ball in his hand, he simply looked relieved Monday night.

This time, Griffin was in good company.

Actually, he finally had some willing and motivated passengers along for the ride on the way to NBA career win No. 2. The Clippers knocked off the best team in the league, the Hornets, winning, 99-95, at Staples Center.

It was their first win against New Orleans after 14 consecutive losses.

After all, even a rookie power forward blessed with Griffin's considerable skills — ones seeming to improve on a daily basis — needs something of a supporting cast to end a nine-game losing streak.

Anything would do.

They arrived in the form of Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Al-Farouq Aminu and Brian Cook, all helping to contribute to the Clippers' victory against New Orleans. It was the first victory in 10 games for the Clippers and merely the second loss of the season for the Hornets, the first coming on Nov. 15 against Dallas.

Griffin had his eighth double-double of the season, scoring 24 points and adding 13 rebounds, and Gordon had one of his best games of the season, scoring 27 points, including two three-pointers.

Aminu added 16 points and Jordan had 12, and Cook had six off the bench.

The Clippers' Ryan Gomes picked an opportune time to score his first points of the game, grabbing a rebound off Gordon's miss with 37.7 seconds remaining. That put the Clippers ahead for good, 95-93, but not, of course, without many nervous moments.

"We just kept going in the third quarter," said Griffin in his on-court TV interview, and then also referred to a double-digit deficit in the second quarter.

Then he gave credit to the "young" guys.

Never mind that he is one of the young guys.

"It means a lot, but it's just one game," he said.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro acknowledged the ragged nature of the victory.

"We weren't real smooth tonight, but we got it done," Del Negro said. "We made it hard on ourselves by missing so many free throws. It's a great win for us — we needed this one."

The Clippers (2-13) nearly botched the ending. They blew their free throws, open layups and seemed to leave their best work on the cutting-room floor … well, the rim.

How else could you account for even the sure-handed Gordon missing a wide open shot in close and the Clippers hitting the rim, time after time, from the free-throw line?

They had problems all night from the free-throw line, going 17 for 34. So perhaps it was fitting that the final two points of the night came from Gordon.

Yes, from the free-throw line, with 4.7 seconds left.

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