One night after losing by four at home to Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers won by four on the road in Portland.
Chris Paul went off for 41 points and 17 assists, Blake Griffin scored 24 and J.J. Redick poured in 25 in a 126-122 victory, as the Clippers (50-26) notched their 50th win of the season and won for the eighth time in the last nine games.
After losing to the Warriors at home, the Clippers needed this one.
“Absolutely,” Los Angeles forward Matt Barnes said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We felt as a team we let one go (Tuesday) night at home. We knew that no matter what the reasons were, there were no excuses. We had to come in here. We knew if we played for 48 minutes, we’d be able to get the win – and we did that.”
It didn’t come easy. The Clippers endured a third-quarter melee in which Portland big man Chris Kaman shove Chris Paul out of bounds and LaMarcus Aldridge shoved Glen Davis to the court. Kaman was given a flagrant foul.
Barnes, who later got into a shouting match with a fan, was on the bench when the fracas occurred.
“Yeah, I was glad I wasn’t on the court during that because it probably would have been a different outcome,” Barnes said. “But it’s playoff time. This could be a possible first-round matchup. We want to come in here and set the tone and show that we can win on the road in Portland in a tough environment, which we’ve done two games in a row. So after he pushed CP3 down, we were already making a run, but it really got our team fired up, and we followed Chris’ lead from there.”
At one point, Griffin and Paul combined for six consecutive three-pointers. The Clippers got their first lead of the game on a three by Redick with less than seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
In the end, the Clippers got a pivotal win, as they may face Portland (48-26) in the first round of the playoffs and could potentially meet Golden State in the second round or in the Western Conference Finals.
Whatever happens, the Clippers wanted to win Wednesday and let the Trail Blazers – and the Warriors – know that they’re coming.
“It’s definitely not going to be a cakewalk for anybody in the playoffs,” Barnes said. “We were just looking at the standings. There’s four or five teams with 50 wins already (or close to it). Golden State has the No. 1 seed, and they’re going to face a tough team in Oklahoma City or the Pelicans. Our goal is to see Golden State one more time, which is going to be probably in the Western Conference Finals. We got a lot of work to do before we get there, but we’re very confident when it comes to playing them.”
The Clippers play the Nuggets (28-47) in Denver this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.