Clippers forward Blake Griffin limps to the bench after being injured late in the fourth quarter against the Lakers.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Jawun Evans drives to the basket guarded by Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson in the second half.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and Clippers guard Austin Rivers talk late in the game on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin is tied up for a jump ball with Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Brandon Ingram tries to shoot over Clippers foward Wesley Johnson as Blake Griffin watches.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talks to Wesley Johnson during the second half on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin drives to the basket guarded by Lakers center Brook Lopez during second half action.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell is guarded by Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson in second half action on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Lonzo Ball attempts to steal the ball from Clippers guard Austin Rivers in the first half on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. and Clippers forward Blake Griffin fight for a loose ball in the first half.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers center Brook Lopez shoots over Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in the first half on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers head coach Luke Walton argues a call with referee Scott Foster during a game against the Clippers on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Lonzo Ball heads to the bench during a timeout on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin battles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. for position at Staples Center on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson leans into Clippers guard C.J. Williams as he drives during the first half on Nov. 27.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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.
“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.
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.