For just the second time in his career, Chris Paul dunked twice in a game. The result of those dunks was the Los Angeles Clippers laying the smack down on the Washington Wizards, 108-91. Paul used a dazzling display of quickness, handles, passing, and scoring to bewitch Washington all night. Paul finished with 23 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds on 9-of-20 in just 27:27 of action. Paul was the best player on the court, and it wasn’t particularly close. The Clippers had a double-digit lead for the final 37:39 of the game, and that says it all.
Besides Paul, the Clippers got great contributions from a slew of players. DeAndre Jordan finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 assists on 6-of-6 shooting. He was really good. Jamal Crawford had 21 points on 9-of-12 from the field, and he hit 3 of his 5 attempts from deep. He looked as if he was back in form after a dismal last six games. Paul Pierce started at power forward, and he had 9 points and 4 rebounds on 4-of-7 shooting. Among the other surprises, Wesley Johnson had 14 points and 4 rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting. Cole Aldrich had a season-high 13 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block. The Toothless Wonder was an animal. Austin Rivers came back tonight and, while he struggled form the field, his defensive ability was welcomed back with open arms.
The team looked like a cohesive unit out there tonight. The Clippers never trailed, got positive stuff from nearly everyone who played, and they handled the Wizards with pretty sizeable ease. Pablo Prigioni was a steady ball-handler on the second unit, and the team was able to avoid a somewhat cold shooting night by J.J. Redick (3-of-8). Among the other stories, Josh Smith didn’t play a single second, Lance Stephenson only played the last 4 minutes, and Branden Dawson made his NBA debut. Dawson will have to wait longer for his first NBA points, though.
John Wall led the way for the Wizards with 23 points. He also had 11 assists and 5 rebounds, but did have 6 turnovers. He shot 10-of-23. Wall was good, but not a match for Paul. The Wizards struggled mightily without Bradley Beal tonight, and they just couldn’t sustain any offensive flow as the Clippers dug down in the paint on Wall pick-and-rolls. Marcin Gortat finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds, but shot 5-of-13 and got pretty much handled by Jordan all night. Former Clipper Jared Dudley not only went scoreless, but finished without a rebound, assist, steal, or block. He only tallied a turnover. Yikes. Garrett Temple started at shooting guard, played 39:14, yet only managed 6 points on 2-of-9 from the field. Rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 5 points and corralled 5 rebounds, but only shot 2-of-6. He was blocked 3 times.
Washington’s bench was actually solid in some areas. Otto Porter Jr. had 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, as well as 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Ramon Sessions had 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals on 4-of-10. Kris Humphries had 4 points on 4 shots, Jarell Eddie had 8 points on 2-of-7 shooting, and DeJuan Blair only played the last 4 minutes without tallying a point or shot, but did have 2 rebounds. The Washington crowd booed Oubre at the end for not taking a wide open layup when down by 17 points, but that just seems rude. Wizards just had no answer for the Clippers all night long, and they never even led for a single second.
Clippers are now 19-13 and riding a three-game winning streak. They’ll head to North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.