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Clippers take it easy in 111-86 rout of Charlotte

L.A. improves to 4-1 on trip, with North Carolina native Chris Paul contributing 18 points and 14 assists in his homecoming and Blake Griffin throwing in two crowd-pleasing dunks among his 21 points.

February 11, 2012|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Charlotte, N.C. — That was easy for the Clippers.

It didn't figure to be difficult, not when they were playing the Charlotte Bobcats, who have the worst record in the NBA.

The Clippers opened a 34-point lead and rolled to a 111-86 victory Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

They are 4-1 on the six-game trip that ends Monday in Dallas.

That means the Clippers have more wins on this trip than the Bobcats (3-24) have all season.

"Three things I thought about," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Defensive field-goal percentage, we did a good job there. Our rebounding was pretty good and [so was] our assist-to-turnover. So we controlled the tempo."

All five starters scored in double figures for the Clippers, who shot 52.6% from the field and held the Bobcats to 35.1%, including one for 14 (7.1%) from three-point range.

The Clippers had 29 assists to only eight turnovers, and 48 rebounds to Charlotte's 32. Blake Griffin had 10 of those rebounds to go with his 21 points.

DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds, 11 points and two blocked shots. The center even made a 12-foot jump shot early in the third quarter, which he and the Clippers said was his first field goal from outside the lane in his four-year career.

Chris Paul, who played in front of more than 150 family members and friends who came to see the Winston-Salem, N.C., native and former Wake Forest point guard, had 14 assists, 18 points and one turnover.

"Right now, we're second in the West," Paul said of the Clippers, whose 17-8 record is second-best in the Western Conference by percentage, .001 ahead of San Antonio's 19-9. "So we've got a target on our backs coming into every game. We've got to approach it with the right mind-set."

There hasn't been much for Bobcats fans to cheer this season, but they seemed more than happy to cheer on the Clippers.

Paul gave them what they wanted to see.

His lob led to a two-handed dunk by Jordan in the third quarter, the center hanging on the rim for emphasis.

Later in the third, Paul found a trailing Griffin near the free-throw line with nice pass. Griffin did the rest, taking off from just inside the foul line for a dunk that drew a collective gasp from the crowd.

The game got a little physical when Tyrus Thomas fouled Griffin hard rather than give up another dunk in the fourth. The Bobcats' bench stood and cheered Thomas, as did the crowd.

Griffin didn't look happy, walking it off before he made both free throws.

A few seconds later, Griffin had the crowd back on his side when he accepted a bounce pass from Paul and threw down a two-handed dunk.

Then, with Griffin heading down court alone, fans began to anticipate something special from the 6-foot-10 forward. He didn't disappoint, throwing down a windmill dunk on a breakaway, drawing more cheers.

With 6 minutes 15 seconds to play, Griffin departed to an ovation.

"I wasn't sure either at times which way the fans were going," Griffin said, smiling. "I guess they just wanted to see something.

"But we didn't want to take this team lightly, especially coming off a back-to-back last night after an emotional game in Philadelphia. I didn't even think we played great tonight, but we played solid."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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