Blake Griffin
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) goes up for a shot against the Charlotte Hornets during the second quarter at Staples Center. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers had a 22-point advantage over the Charlotte Hornets with 10 minutes left to play in the third quarter on Tuesday night leading the sold out crowd at Staples Center to assume the game was in the bag.

To quote the legendary broadcaster, Chick Hearn, “The game was in the fridge, the lights were out, and the Jello was jiggling.” Then the unthinkable happened: the Clippers lost focus, the Hornets rallied and before you could say “Hack-A-DJ” Charlotte was only down one point.

“I call them emotional hijacks,” said coach Doc Rivers about the moments in the game when his team loses their focus or lets their emotions change their performance on the court. “It doesn’t mean they didn’t have intensity, but they kept their focus on basketball instead of all the peripheral stuff that doesn’t have an impact on the game."

The Clippers regained their focus and didn’t allow themselves to be emotionally hijacked as they turned up the defensive pressure down the stretch and defeated the Hornets 99-92 behind a hot shooting J.J. Redick and a reinvigorated Blake Griffin.

Redick scored 23 points to lead LA and Griffin was impressive in just his second game back from injury going 8 for 12 from the floor with 19 points and 11 rebounds and the under-manned Clippers avoided what would have been their second three-game losing streak of the season.

“I felt a little bit better today,” said Griffin about his performance. “I felt better today than I did yesterday, but I still have a ways to go.”

Chris Paul added 20 points and eight assists, DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 14 rebounds and super-sub Nate Robinson scored 12 off the bench.

“We weathered the storm and pulled out the victory,” added Robinson about the game.

The Clippers blew an 18-point halftime lead as the Hornets got within one point, five different times during the fourth quarter before the Clippers closed the game out in the final minute.

“They might go unnoticed sometimes, but those emotional hijacks are huge,” said Griffin about his team keeping their composure. “We try to avoid those, especially with the refs. I’m as guilty as anyone if not more so, so I need to do a better job.”

Al Jefferson led the Hornets with 21 points as Charlotte had six players in double figures including all five starters. Both teams combined to have 11 total players in double-figures as the Clippers had five respectively.

“I don’t believe in small victories,” said Jefferson after the game. “But, at the end of the day, we showed some fight in us. That’s something we have to help us build confidence for our next game on Friday.”

Mo Williams added 18 points and 8 assists and Kemba Walker had his best game since returning from a serious knee injury last week. Walker scored 15 points off the bench for the Hornets in just his 4th game back.

Game Notes:
The cast of the Comedy Central show, Workaholics, were in attendance as was Clippers diehard, Billy Crystal. The Clippers signed Nate Robinson to a second 10-day contract before the game. Matt Barnes missed the game with a lingering hamstring injury, as did Jamal Crawford with a bruised right calf.

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