Clippers lose Blake Griffin but beat the Lakers

Blake Griffin suffered a left knee injury late in the fourth quarter and wasn’t around to see Lou Williams take control of the game and lead the Clippers past the Lakers 120-115 on Monday night at Staples Center.

Griffin was injured when Austin Rivers fell back into his knee as both players scrambled for a loose ball with Lonzo Ball. Griffin’s knee twisted, leaving him in pain and sending him to the locker room soon after.

So he didn’t get to see Williams score eight of his season-high 42 points down the stretch to help the host Clippers win their third straight, and beat the Lakers for the second time in as many games this season.

After the game, the Clippers would only say Griffin will be evaluated Tuesday, but they did not say for what, or if he’ll get an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.


“He’s not in high spirits,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s down. Right now, he’s where we are at, hoping that it was just a bang and then it hurt and then he’ll be all right. But his spirits are down right now, yeah.”

Griffin, who finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, was in the locker room with a towel wrapped around him. But he didn’t tell his story to the media.

Ball had lost control of the basketball in the middle of the lane. Griffin and Rivers converged on Ball as he lowered his head. Ball appeared to ram into Griffin, forcing Rivers to in turn hit his teammate’s knee.

Griffin tried to stay in the game but was taken out with 3 minutes 53 seconds left and the Clippers leading 112-110 after Brandon Ingram (17 points) had scored.


“On the collision that no foul was called, yeah, that one,” Doc Rivers said about how Griffin was injured. “That’s when it happened. You could see right when it happened. I was yelling right away. Lonzo was just trying to make a play, but usually when you go in that hard, they call it. But I think Lonzo knocked Austin into Blake and it was a trigger effect.”

Williams had 14 of his points in the fourth quarter and carried the offense when Griffin went out, scoring all of the Clippers’ points in the final four minutes. He finished 14 for 14 from the line, giving the Clippers the edge (28 of 30 free throws overall) in an otherwise evenly matched game.

The Clippers have been playing without point guards Patrick Beverley (season-ending knee surgery) and Milos Teodosic (foot injury) and scoring forward Danilo Gallinari (strained left glute).

“We’ve just got to continue to push,” Williams said. “We’ve dealt with injuries this entire season so far. Once Blake went down, we understood the next guy had to step in.”


Williams was the main guy, going 12 for 21 from the field, four for eight from three-point range.

“He saved us,” Doc Rivers said. “He literally won the game for us.”

The Clippers have defeated the Lakers 11 straight times when they have been the home team.

Indeed, the teams view these confrontations as more than just regular games on the schedule, no matter what any of them say.


It’s about being in the same city of Los Angeles that the Lakers have always owned.

It’s about sharing the same Staples Center arena. It’s being in the same Pacific Division.

And it’s about a rivalry that overall has been lopsided in favor of the Lakers.

The teams went at each other Monday, the Lakers getting a season-high 29 points from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and just three points from Ball.


DeAndre Jordan yelled and talked trash to Ball after the Clippers center was called for an offensive foul taken by the rookie guard late in the second quarter.

It was the Clippers who did the most complaining. Griffin and Jordan argued every slight, every foul called or not called.

However, the team put that competitive spirit into its play, rallied to take the lead and then held on after losing Griffin.


Twitter: @BA_Turner