Charlotte Hornets

Blake Griffin’s big night for Los Angeles Clippers downs Charlotte Hornets

Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin (32) goes up to dunk against Charlotte Hornets' Miles Plumlee (18) in the first half Saturday.
Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin (32) goes up to dunk against Charlotte Hornets' Miles Plumlee (18) in the first half Saturday. AP

Blake Griffin did in the Charlotte Hornets Saturday, pretty much all by himself.

Griffin dunk-tapped an Austin Rivers miss with 44.7 seconds left, giving the Los Angeles Clippers a five-point lead that led to a 107-102 victory over the Hornets at a sold-out Spectrum Center.

Griffin finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists on a night when the Clippers were without star point guard Chris Paul. The Clippers improved to 33-21 and conclude a long road trip Monday against the Utah Jazz.

The Hornets fell to 24-30. They play the last of four consecutive home games Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers. They are 1-2 so far on this home stand.

The Hornets got 25 points, eight assists and six rebounds from Nic Batum. Frank Kaminsky, starting at center, added 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Three who mattered

Griffin: He helped get Marvin Williams into foul trouble, which was a big Hornets problem in the second half.

Batum: Over the first three quarters, he generated 20 points off 10 shots from the field.

Jamal Crawford: He is still one of the NBA’s most dangerous bench scorers.

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford criticizes himself after Saturday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Observations

▪  The Hornets honored point guard Kemba Walker for his first All-Star Game selection before the game.

▪  The Hornets played without center Cody Zeller, who aggravated his quad contusion in the second half of Thursday’s loss to the Houston Rockets.

▪  This was the final Charlotte appearance for Clippers small forward Paul Pierce, who is retiring after this season.

▪  It’s been kind of a nightmare rookie season for the Clippers’ Brice Johnson, who starred at North Carolina. Johnson herniated a disk in his lower back in the preseason and has yet to recover enough to play.

▪  Saturday’s 5 p.m. tip-off was to accommodate international television, in cooperation with the NBA. Batum (France) and Marco Belinelli (Italy) obviously have followings in Europe.

Worth mentioning

▪  The Carolina Panthers were well represented at Saturday’s game. Tight end Greg Olsen and center Ryan Kalil were at Spectrum Center, along with coach Ron Rivera and his wife, former WNBA coach Stephanie Rivera.

▪  North Carolina coach Roy Williams attended this game and it’s easy to see why with his North Carolina and Kansas connections: Along with Pierce, Williams coached Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton and Johnson.

▪  Hornets television analyst Dell Curry missed this game with an illness.

Report card

C OFFENSE: It’s a challenge for the Hornets to match baskets when Walker is so off his shooting game.

C- DEFENSE: Even without Paul, the Clippers’ offense scored a bunch of easy baskets, primarily thanks to Griffin.

C- COACHING: These two home losses make Monday versus the Philadelphia 76ers feel big.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

  Comments