(The Sports Xchange) - The Los Angeles Clippers made history on Saturday with a 105-100 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, their first at Barclays Center.
Clippers guard Chris Paul (15 points, 14 assists) and forward Blake Griffin (21 points, nine rebounds) were huge contributors late in the game to extend the Clippers’ lead each time the Nets made a push.
”We’ve been having big issues with closing out games this year,“ Paul said. ”We had leads on teams and let them back in it. It’s a negative in that we’re still letting teams back in the game, but it’s a positive in that we were able to close it out.
“Down the stretch, me and Blake I think worked our two-man game to perfection. That’s something that we just have to keep working on.”
Griffin’s elbow jumper with 49 seconds put the Clippers in front 101-95.
“If I can get to the rim, I’ll always try to be aggressive and attack, but that shot was open,” Griffin said. “It’s a shot that I work on every single day.”
The Clippers (14-10), whose only other road win against the Nets came in East Rutherford, N.J. on Dec. 11 2007, went inside early, with center DeAndre Jordan and Griffin wowing the crowd with thunderous dunks and alley-oops.
“He’s definitely our anchor and I think we rely on him, meaning the other four guys on the court, to be the helper, the rebounder and the voice of our defense,” guard J.J. Redick said of Jordan. “He’s been great lately.”
After making just two of 11 shots from the field in an 83-80 loss on Thursday in Chicago, Redick bounced back to scorch the Nets for 21 points, including four of six from three-point range.
“It’s funny, the guy who shoots the best still practices more than everybody else, which I always couldn’t figure out because you would think everybody else would do more,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
“But J.J. takes the most shots, he works the most on his shots, so he knows even on bad nights it’s going to come back.”
Paul Pierce torched his former team with eight of his 10 points off the bench in the first half, including back-to-back three-pointers to give Los Angeles a 42-26 lead, their largest of the first half.
The lead ballooned to 18 on a 22-foot jumper by Josh Smith with 10:07 left, but the Nets (7-16) roared back.
“Maybe we take the lead and control the game, but I‘m proud of our guys -- how they battled, how they competed,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “You know, it’s just disappointing that we couldn’t come all the way back and get this win.”
Thaddeus Young had 18 points, Jarrett Jack had 16, 11 assists and five rebounds, while Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Johnson scored 15 points apiece for the Nets, who won six of their last seven games at home.
Brook Lopez added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who won six of their last seven games at home.
“I guess the energy wasn’t really there up to a point,” Lopez said. “We may have made the run too late, but we stuck with it, we never really let it get away from us and the guys at the end of the game did a fantastic job of closing that gap.”
The Clippers head to Detroit with a 3-1 record on their five-game road trip.
“It’s been a good trip,” Griffin said. “We haven’t played great at times, but 3-1, that’s a major positive. We just want to finish up strong.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford