Clippers get club-record 12th straight home win
By JOE RESNICK
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers had no intention of going 0-3 against the Golden State Warriors, and they played like it.
Chris Paul had 27 points and nine assists, Blake Griffin added 20 points and the Clippers set a franchise record with their 12th straight home victory, 115-89 over the Warriors on Saturday night.
“We’ve been pretty good at home,” Paul said. “I think that’s 12 in a row for us here. It’s all about our fans, and we feed off them. So we’ve got to keep making this a tough place to play.
“The first time they beat us here, you would have thought they won the NBA Finals,” Paul added. “Then they beat us up there pretty handily, so we wanted to protect our home court. This was the third time we’ve played those guys at the end of a back-to-back, so we knew if we let them get out and run, we’d be in for a long night.”
Instead, it was a long night for the Warriors, who slipped four games behind the Clippers in the Western Conference standings. Coach Mark Jackson got so frustrated at one point late in the third quarter after an alley-oop dunk by a giddy DeAndre Jordan, he came onto the court and just glared at the Clippers’ bench as they celebrated during the ensuing timeout. Some of them stared back.
“It was just a good old-fashioned heavyweight championship staredown. That’s all,” Jackson said. “But they earned the right to celebrate, the way they played. So what you’ve got to do as a coach or as a player is just let it soak in and remember it. That’s all. Mark it down with permanent ink.”
The Clippers lead the NBA with a 27-8 record, a half-game ahead of conference rivals Oklahoma City and San Antonio. They won a club-record 17 straight overall before back-to-back road losses at Denver and Golden State, then beat the Lakers 107-102 on Friday. The Clippers’ previous best home winning streak was set in 1978-79, their first season in San Diego after the franchise left Buffalo.
Jordan added 13 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles, which built a 23-point lead through the first quarter and won for the 19th time in 21 games overall. Coach Vinny Del Negro pulled Griffin and Paul after the Clippers built a 96-60 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter.
Klay Thompson had a team-high 14 points for the Warriors (22-11), who had won 12 of 15 and were trying to match the second-best start in team history behind the 1975-76 squad that won 25 of its first 33. They were 23-10 in 1955-56 and in 1991-92.
“We didn’t play well and they played like they wanted to send a message, so give them credit,” Jackson said. “It’s fresh in their minds what took place just the other day, so we knew their mindset and we didn’t respond.”
Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Clippers busted out of the gate with a 22-6 run while Golden State missed 15 of its first 18 shots. Stephen Curry and David Lee, the only Warriors averaging 20 or more points, both were 0 for 4 during that stretch.
“The Clippers outplayed us in every facet of the game, but it wasn’t due to a lack of preparation,” Lee said. “NBA players realize that out of an 82-game schedule there are going to be nights like this, and nights where you win by 30. They were on their fourth game in five nights, and they outplayed us from the jump.”
Matt Barnes stripped the ball from rookie Draymond Green under the basket and hustled the length of the floor to tip in Willie Green’s missed layup just before the first-quarter buzzer, giving Los Angeles a 35-12 cushion. It was the lowest-scoring opening period for the Warriors.
“This was a business win for us,” Griffin said. “This is how we want to win games. We wanted to take care of it early, and that’s what we did. Wednesday’s game was pretty fresh in our minds.”
The Clippers extended the margin to 67-43 at halftime, shooting 61.4 percent from the field and outrebounding the Warriors 24-12. Eric Bledsoe provided the exclamation point at the end of the second quarter when he blocked a driving layup by Jarrett Jack just before the buzzer. The 6-foot-1 point guard has 24 blocked shots in the team’s first 35 games and 63 in 156 regular-season contests.
“The fact that they beat us twice was the biggest thing,” Barnes said. “They’re a conference opponent and they’re only a few games behind us, so you just want to come out and make a statement.”
Shooting guard Jamal Crawford, who leads the Clippers’ reserves with 16.5 points per game, missed his second straight contest because of a sore left foot. The 13-year veteran, who signed as a free agent in July, tops all reserves in the league with 14 games of 20 or more points — including the 27 he scored against the Warriors in a 114-110 loss on Nov. 3, and the 24 he had against them in Wednesday’s 115-94 defeat at Oakland.
“Right now we’re just trying to get healthy,” Paul said. “We’re missing Jamal, Grant (Hill) and Chauncey (Billups), but we’ve got two games in the next seven days, so hopefully we can rest up a little bit. I’m glad this four-of-five stretch is over. I’m tired.”
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