Clippers use group effort to get past the Hornets, 107-102
Clippers forward Blake Griffin dunks the ball over Hornets center Miles Plumlee during a game on Feb. 11.(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan tries to keep the ball away from Hornets teammates Frank Kaminsky III and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist during a game on Feb. 11.(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
Hornets forward Marvin Williams jumps to save a loose ball during a game against the Clippers on Feb. 11.(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin blocks a shot by Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb during the second half of a game on Feb. 11.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Hornets shooting guard Jeremy Lamb drives against Clippers forward Marreese Speights during the first half of a game on Feb. 11.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Charlotte Hornets Coach Steve Clifford directs his team during the first half of a game against the Clippers on Feb. 11.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers reacts to a call in the second half of a game against the Hornets on Feb. 11.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin goes up for a dunk against Hornets center Miles Plumlee during the first half of a game on Feb. 11.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Hornets Marco Belinelli, Nicolas Batum and Kemba Walker (left to right) walk offcourt during a timeout late in the second half of a game against the Clippers on Feb. 11.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
This 107-102 Clippers victory required that they work together as a group to finish off a stubborn Charlotte Hornets team Saturday afternoon at Spectrum Center.
It was more than just Blake Griffin being in line for a triple-double. It wasn’t enough for Jamal Crawford to come off the bench to lead the team in scoring. It had to be more than just DeAndre Jordan dominating the backboards once again. It was more than just the offensive spurts by J.J. Redick, Marreese Speights and Raymond Felton.
It was even more than just another strong defensive effort at the right time.
The Clippers worked together as one to combat a Hornets team that had five players score in double figures and didn’t quit until the game was basically over.
Griffin led the Clippers’ assault with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, two shy of giving him his second triple-double on this five-game trip. His tip dunk off an Austin Rivers missed floater gave the Clippers a much-needed five-point cushion with 44.7 seconds left.
Crawford led the Clippers in scoring with 22 points, including three free throws in the final 27.4 seconds of the game that kept the Clippers in control with that five-point lead.
“It was a group effort, honestly,” said Jordan, who contributed 16 rebounds toward the effort. “Blake was amazing. Austin. Jamal hit some huge shots for us. But ultimately, I felt like we came down and got some shots when we needed them and then executed offensively down the stretch.”
After a one-for-four first half, Rivers went to work in the second half, scoring 16 of his 18 points.
He was six for eight from the field, four for four from three-point range in the final 24 minutes of the game.
After a one-for-seven first half that included going one for six from three-point range, Redick went two for four in the third quarter. He had half of his 10 points in the third quarter. And Redick’s two free throws with 5.9 seconds left sealed the deal for the group.
Speights did his share when the Clippers were shaky in the first quarter, scoring all eight of his points. Felton did his part with nine points.
It was going to take them all to slow down Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker (10 points), Nicolas Batum (25 points), Frank Kaminsky (20) and Marco Belinelli (17).
“They’re a solid team,” Griffin said. “It takes a full team effort to stop a guy like Kemba, to account for Batum, Belinelli, Kaminsky, all those guys. You’re not going to do it with one person on the defensive end. You’re not going to do it with one person on the offensive end. We needed everybody tonight.”
The Clippers were especially together on defense against Walker, forcing him into making just four of 18 shots.
“I thought our help defense was much better tonight,” Griffin said. “It was just being there for each other tonight. They hit some tough shots, but I thought we limited guys somewhat well, especially Kemba. He’s kind of the head of the snake for them.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner
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