When a team shoots a blistering 48 percent from three-point range (making 18 of them, at that) in a basketball game, it would seem safe to assume that that team comes out with a win.
Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, the New Orleans Hornets were even better from beyond-the-arc, shooting an amazing 60 percent (15-27), on their way to a 105-98 victory.
Greivis Vasquez led the charge for New Orleans, scoring 25 points and dishing out 10 assists on 5-8 shooting from three. Power forward Ryan Anderson also got in on the act, shooting 5-9 from deep with 17 points.
Blake Griffin endured his worst game as a professional Monday night, scoring just four points on dreadful 1-9 shooting (his one make was a dunk), six rebounds and four turnovers before fouling out with over two minutes left in the game. It was just the fourth time in his brief career that he failed to crack double-digits in scoring.
Caron Butler, on the other hand, essentially single-handedly kept the Clippers in the game, delivering 33 points (his highest total as a Clipper) on amazing 9-15 shooting from three-point range. Chris Paul was steady, as usual, putting in 20 points to go along with eight assists and four steals.
Once again, the Clippers came out of the gates in the first quarter looking lethargic and lifeless; a trend that has become far too common during L.A.’s four-game losing streak.
The Hornets, who had lost seven consecutive games coming in, led 22-19 after the first, and took a seven-point lead into halftime.
Butler absolutely caught fire coming out of halftime, raining in an amazing six three-pointers and getting the Staples Center crowd into the game for the first time. Unfortunately, the Clippers could do nothing to slow down New Orleans’ hot shooting on the other end. Butler scored 18 of Los Angeles’ 26 third quarter points.
The Clippers shot a whopping 37 three-pointers as they frantically tried to get back into the game with the Hornets having built a sizable lead late in the game. Unfortunately, chucking so many from deep meant the Clippers weren’t attacking the basket with their normal ferocity, and they shot a total of just 11 free-throws, making six.
The Hornets went 18-23 from the charity stripe.
L.A. seemed to be mounting a bit of a run in the third quarter when reserve forward Matt Barnes got tangled up with Hornets forward Jason Smith. Barnes was called for a flagrant foul for hitting Smith high with an elbow. As Smith was shooting his ensuing free-throws, Barnes was hit with a technical for continuing to argue. Smith made all three of his foul shots, and then made a layup to cap-off a five-point possession that swung the momentum back to New Orleans. Smith (who, as you may recall, flagrantly fouled Blake Griffin on a fast break last season, resulting in a suspension) finished with 17 points off-the-bench.
New Orleans was playing without No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis, who missed the game with a foot injury. The former Kentucky standout is averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and over two blocks a game so far this season. They were also without former Clipper Eric Gordon, who remains sidelined with a knee issue.
Rookie guard Austin Rivers tied his career-high with 14 points off-the-bench, including 3-4 from deep.
Lamar Odom was once again completely ineffective in 19 minutes off the bench, failing to score (he didn’t even attempt a shot) for the third straight game, while grabbing a couple of rebounds and committing three fouls. Inexplicably, he played four more minutes than DeAndre Jordan.
The only other Clippers to score in double-figures were Willie Green and Jamal Crawford, who each put in 10.
L.A. managed to rally from a 94-77 deficit, cutting it to 101-95 with just under two minutes to play. The Clippers then missed four straight three-pointers on one possession before Anderson finally grabbed a rebound with 50 seconds to play, effectively ending L.A.’s chances at completing the comeback.
The Clippers are now just 8-6 on the season, tied for first place with the Golden State Warriors. They’ll host the (also struggling) Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday evening. From here, the Hornets (4-9) will head back home to take on the Jazz the same night.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers, and covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for ProSportsBlogging.com.