But then they lost the rest of their starting backcourt when J.J. Redick suffered a sprained right wrist in the second quarter after a hard fall on the court from a collision with the Sacramento Kings' 270-pound center DeMarcus Cousins.
The Clippers then showed some resolve to withstand their injuries and the always tough Kings to pull out a 104-98 overtime victory Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.
It took Jamal Crawford taking the controls of the offense for the Clippers to beat the Kings for the third time this season.
It took Blake Griffin overcoming his foul trouble and it took a tremendous defensive effort from DeAndre Jordan for the Clippers to win a fourth straight game.
“I just believe we can win,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “And I want our guys to believe that. I told them that before the game.”
Crawford took care of the offense, collecting a season-high in points (31) and assists (11) to go along with seven rebounds in 37 minutes.
“We lose our starting backcourt, a guy who is an MVP candidate in Chris and then one of the better starting two guards in the league in J.J.,” said Crawford, who was 12 for 22 from the field. “We just had to adjust on the fly against a scrappy team who plays us tough every time we play them.”
Griffin came up big for the Clippers when needed, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Jordan almost had a rare triple-double. He finished with 10 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high nine blocked shots, one shy of the franchise record shared by Bill Walton and Benoit Benjamin.
“DJ had a Bill Russell night,” Rivers said. “It's amazing what a defender can do for your team who just buys into it.”
When the game hung in the balance for the Clippers, Crawford and Griffin carried the team.
Crawford found Griffin down low for a dunk that gave the Clippers a 100-98 lead in overtime. Then Crawford made a clutch basket and two free throws for the final margin.
“I think this says a lot about our team,” Paul said. “We're very resilient.”
All the Clippers were missing in Paul was the NBA's top assist man (12.2 per game) and their top scorer (19.0 points).
All the Clippers were missing in Redick was one of their best outside shooters who spreads the court for them.
Redick had 13 points on four-for-nine shooting before he left.
Redick got X-rays on the hand, and they were negative. He plans on getting an MRI exam. He wore a brace on his hand and said there was some “swelling and throbbing” in his wrist.
“I'm in some pain,” Redick said. “I didn't think there was anything broken. Where it hurts there's not a bone. Best-case scenario, it's just a little sprain.”
The Clippers were also without small forward Matt Barnes (left eye surgery).
But they survived all that and improved to 4-4 on the road.