Clippers point guard Chris Paul, center, is congratulated by teammate… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
So this is how the Clippers responded to an unexpected season-opening loss.
The Clippers opened a big lead, withstood a rally by the Golden State Warriors and showed some resolve in pulling out a 126-115 victory Thursday night.
Chris Paul was the main one who played as if he didn't want to start the season 0-2. Paul had 42 points and 15 assists, winding up one point shy of his career high.
But it wasn't as if Paul didn't have help, as four of his teammates scored in double figures as the Clippers won their home opener and gave Doc Rivers his first victory as coach.
Blake Griffin had 23 points and 10 rebounds before he fouled out with just under four minutes left.
Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick both had 17 points and Jared Dudley added 10 points.
DeAndre Jordan had his good and bad moments. The good was his rebounding and solid defense. The bad was Jordan missing all four of his free throws in the fourth quarter when he was intentionally fouled.
Rivers removed Jordan from the game twice after he missed his free throws, but he re-inserted his center back into the game. Jordan finished with 17 rebounds and nine points, making three of 12 from the foul line.
“I thought our guys played just great,” Rivers said. “I thought our intensity stayed, because I was really happy with our defense overall.”
The Clippers built a 19-point third-quarter lead, but that was sliced to eight points in the fourth quarter behind an outburst from Stephen Curry, who torched the Clippers for 38 points.
But the Clippers held on because they played with the intensity they lacked during their season-opening loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night.
They played just enough defense. And the Clippers played with toughness and physicality against a Warriors team that was trying to test their mettle.
It also took a little of Lob City to return in the second half to push the Clippers' fans into a frenzy.
And it all began because of the Clippers' defense.
Griffin stole a pass from Curry and passed ahead to Paul, who threw a lob to Griffin for a dunk.
After Curry lost the ball on the next possession, Paul picked it up and threw another lob to the hustling Griffin for a dunk.
The Warriors, coming off a rout of the Lakers the night before in Oakland, called a timeout, but Paul got another steal and threw yet another lob pass to Griffin for another dunk.
And just like that, the Clippers had run off to an 88-70 lead in the third quarter.
“It was important for us to come back and have a good showing,” Griffin said. “I was proud of the way we stepped up.”
The Clippers began to assert themselves in the first quarter after Griffin and Jordan stood up to the Warriors.
Griffin was called for a technical foul for elbowing Klay Thompson.
Jordan and Andrew Bogut were called for double technicals after Bogut fouled Jordan hard. Jordan responded by throwing elbow into the chest of Bogut, who then pushed Jordan away. Both players had to be separated.
Jordan took his two free throws from the Bogut foul and made one, giving the Clippers a 14-point lead in the second quarter that stretched to 65-47 at one point before halftime.