Clippers forward Blake Griffin drives the baseline around Washington… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)
One suggestion for the next time the Clippers and Wizards happen to run into each other on the court:
How about simplifying things, reducing the issue to two on two?
Or maybe they could simply start with overtime.
The Wizards could feature dunking impresario JaVale McGee and sensational rookie point guard John Wall. And for the Clippers, it would be sensational rookie power forward Blake Griffin and point guard Mo Williams. (No Kia required.)
That would be preferable after Wednesday's painstaking, often painful-looking game, a 127-119 double-overtime victory for the Clippers over the road-challenged Wizards at Staples Center that featured the first triple-double of Griffin's career — 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. He also tied Elton Brand's Clippers record of 55 double-doubles.
"It means a lot," Griffin said. "But the best part about it is getting it along with the win."
In a game full of near-finishes, the last dagger came from Clippers guard Randy Foye, who put down a three-pointer with 46.1 seconds left, turning a three point lead into a six-point margin. And Chris Kaman scored seven points in the second overtime for the Clippers.
Earlier, the Clippers' Eric Gordon, who had 32 points, sent it into double overtime with a great pump fake of McGee, nailing a three-pointer from the left wing with 1.9 seconds remaining in the first overtime.
That was his salvo right back at McGee.
Seconds earlier, McGee got the best of Gordon. It came with the Clippers trailing by two points, 112-110, and the ball in Gordon's hands. Gordon drove the lane and his short fadeaway jumper was blocked by McGee, who seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
The game featured clutch plays by the key players one night after the Lakers beat the Suns in triple overtime in the same arena.
Wall pushed it into overtime with his driving layup, making it 102-102, with 14.6 seconds remaining. Williams ran down the clock too far in what was a terrible final possession of regulation, getting the ball to Griffin with 0.2 of a second left. Griffin missed the 26-footer from the top of the arc, an air ball, in the last hectic scramble.
It had looked as though Williams was poised to redeem himself in the final quarter, having gone one for six for two points through the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, Williams scored 12 points. He finished with 17 points and 10 assists, having set up several Griffin dunks with pinpoint passes. He fouled out in the second overtime.
But these were same Wizards who had won one road game in 33 opportunities — beating Cleveland in February — before Wednesday, and had lost to the Clippers by 21 points March 12 at Washington. On top of that, the Wizards played Tuesday night and lost at Portland.
"These are good character games for us," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Obviously I don't think we played great basketball. We got the win. We gutted it out and that's a good sign."
It was a struggle nearly every inch, every basket, every turnover along the way.
The Clippers (28-44) committed 25 turnovers, leading to 31 points by the Wizards. They had their usual lack of focus in the third quarter and never could quite keep the Wizards from continually creeping back into it.