Blake Griffin looked at the Staples Center crowd and clapped his hands. Then Griffin pumped his fist toward his teammates, drawing a smile from Chris Paul.
After the game was over, after the Clippers had defeated the Golden State Warriors, 111-98, Griffin and Paul gathered together with their starting teammates on the court for a hug.
While Griffin produced 30 points and 15 rebounds, he also reached a milestone.
And after the Clippers evened the season series at 2-2 against the Warriors, Paul went back onto the court to shoot after nearly producing a triple-double.
Paul had 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. But he missed 10 of his 15 shots.
Still, the Clippers won their ninth consecutive game and broke Golden State’s five-game winning streak.
The Clippers also opened a five-game lead over the Warriors in the Pacific Division.
“It was a good mental win for us,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “I didn’t think we had a lot going.”
When Griffin collected his fifth rebound with 14.9 seconds left in the second quarter, it meant he had 3,000 in his career.
That made Griffin only the third NBA player to have at least 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds, 1,000 assists and shoot at least 50% from the field before the end of his fourth season.
It’s not a bad club to be initiated into. Griffin joined Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley in accomplishing the feat.
“Blake was dominant,” Rivers said. “He was dominant all game.”
Danny Granger and Willie Green gave the Clippers a big lift with their play off the bench.
Granger was the force in the first half, scoring 14 of his 18 points in the first 24 minutes.
Green was the man in the second half, scoring eight of his 13 points in the final 24 minutes.
“Obviously, he made shots, but I thought Willie’s defense in the second half and the first was fantastic,” Rivers said. “Danny Granger is just getting better and better.”
Of course, there was no way this game could be played without at least one of the Warriors getting into it with Griffin.
The first minor situation arose with 18.8 seconds left in the third quarter when Griffin was pulled down by Draymond Green, who was called for an offensive foul when the Warriors had the basketball for the final shot of the quarter.
Then with 8:55 left in the fourth, Griffin and Jermaine O’Neal began talking trash during a timeout.
O’Neal was issued a technical foul.
During a timeout with 6:10 left, DeAndre Jordan was called for a technical foul, angering his teammates and the Clippers’ coaching staff.
That was just a small sample of the disdain the Clippers and Warriors have displayed toward each other.
“We need to keep getting tested,” Rivers said. “That’s why I was looking forward to this game, because you kind of felt like some of that junk would happen in the game. And we came out of it.”