One of the biggest things this team has embraced since Chris Paul went down with his injury is a new found sense of teamwork. It's been one of their greatest attributes over the last 13 games without their on-court leader. Tonight showcased that teamwork in a variety of different ways as they battled the tough and determined Washington Wizards at the Staples Center. It was the first home game for the Los Angeles Clippers in a span of 13 days and they made it count. The game began with a serious hodgepodge of turnovers and fouls by both teams. The first quarter saw the two sides combine for 8 turnovers and 11 fouls. Not really something that was aesthetically pleasing to anyone who was watching. Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers with 12 points in the quarter while Darren Collison chipped in with 10 of his own. However, the Wizards led after 31-30 after the initial 12 minutes. The second quarter saw a better effort from the Clippers on both ends. On offense they looked a lot more focused and polished while on defense they kept the Wizards a tad off kilter. One thing I should note is that in the first quarter, the Wizards stayed in the game thanks to their fast break chances. In the second quarter, that really changed. They didn't get as many fast break opportunities and you could see it bogged them down. Clippers won the quarter 32-20 and took a 62-51 lead into the halftime break. In the third quarter, the Wizards got out on the break again and it helped them win the quarter 23-19. In non-fast break sets, the Wizards actually shot 6 of 13 in the quarter which, while still being 46%, is something the Clippers could have lived with. If it weren't for Blake Griffin that third quarter, the Clippers would probably have been toast. He had 12 of the team's 19 points and generally carried them through stretches. The final frame was basically a grinding slugfest for a while. About 3 minutes in, the Wizards had cut the Clippers lead from 7 to 3 and looked like they could take control. But then JJ Redick happened. Or, perhaps, I should say JJ Redickulous. In a span of 65 seconds, Redick made a three, got fouled on another three-point attempt and made two of those free throws, and hit another three. He had 8 points in 65 seconds. While that's nothing insane, it buoyed the offense when it needed help the most. However, this game still was a close contest throughout the final minutes. Over the final 6 minutes of the game, the Clippers went just 2 of 6 from the field. The Wizards really played great defense down the stretch but just couldn't get over the hump. Randy Wittman going with Hack-a-Jordan twice in a 20 second span really killed Washington's momentum. DeAndre made all four of his free throws and really helped the Clippers down the stretch with his defense, as well, by having two blocks at crucial moments. The Clippers held on for a 110-103 win despite the offensive problems late in the game. Whenever they got bogged down, they'd usually get a call and end up going to the line. Nothing wrong with that in a game like this where it seemed like all the calls were justified. The Clippers shot 15 free throws in the final frame, with 4 of them coming intentionally on fouls, and made 13 of those 15. You're going to win quite a few games when you do that in the fourth quarter.
Clippers bewitch Wizards, 110-103
Clips Nation | Jan 30