J.J. Redick stood outside of the Clippers’ locker room and smiled when he was asked what it meant for them to have won three consecutive games without Blake Griffin.
Without hesitation, Redick delivered a line that would have made any comedian proud and probably would have brought a smile to the face of Griffin even while he sits out with a partially torn left quad tendon.
“Griffin out. Clippers roll!” a smiling Redick cracked after the Clippers held on for a 122-117 victory over the injury-depleted Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. “That should be the headline.”
The headline could be that Redick put on a shooting exhibition, making eight of 14 shots and missing only one of his six three-pointers in scoring 26 points.
Or the headline could be about how the Clippers’ bench dominated, or about how Austin Rivers dropped in 22 points off the bench, or about how they made 15 of 30 three-pointers against the Hornets.
“I think the biggest takeaway the last three games has just been other guys kind of getting opportunities and taking advantage of that,” Redick said. “Specifically Pablo [Prigioni] and Cole [Aldrich]. Those guys weren’t in the rotation five or six days ago and they’ve been fantastic.”
The Clippers won their fourth consecutive game by building a 12-point lead and holding on when it was cut to one point in the fourth quarter.
And it was the reserves who kept the pressure on the Hornets, giving the starters more than enough rest and a lead for them when they reentered the game.
It was subs Rivers, Aldrich, Prigioni, Jamal Crawford and Wesley Johnson who put the Hornets back on their heels after they made a run.
Rivers, in his second game back after missing three games with a sprained right ankle, made a three-pointer with 6:26 left to gave the Clippers a 108-97 lead.
Crawford made a three-pointer while being fouled at the end of the third quarter, completing the four-point play when he made the free throw. That was a part of his 11 points.
Aldrich had seven points and three rebounds.
With Griffin out, the Clippers’ bench stood tall again, something that group has been doing on this trip.
“It just seems like we’re rolling now,” Austin Rivers said. “It’s starting to click for us. And now it’s just about us getting better and just moving forward. It’s about us going out there and making a stand every time we’re out there. I think that’s where we’re at now with that.”
The Clippers faced another depleted team on their trip, this time not seeing Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoulder), Spencer Hawes (back), Jeremy Lin (ankle) and Al Jefferson (knee). The Hornets were led by Kemba Walker with 29 points.
“They are really short-handed and we don’t have Blake,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “These are games you go into knowing anybody can win the game. We won the game, so I was happy.”