NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Chris Paul and Blake Griffin made their share of timely plays and otherwise enjoyed the perimeter shooting exhibition put on by the Los Angeles Clippers' supporting cast.
Even Chauncey Billups made a difference during the 13 minutes he tested his nagging right groin injury. It added up to the kind of comfortable victory the Clippers needed on the heels of an overtime loss at Dallas a night earlier.
Griffin scored 19 points, Paul had 16 points, nine assists and four steals, and the Clippers beat the New Orleans Hornets 105-91 on Wednesday night.
"With Blake rolling, and us spacing the court, if we make shots we're a tough team to play," Paul said. "It's a good bounce-back win for us, coming off an overtime loss, a tough game like that in Dallas."
Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford each scored 13 for the Clippers, who built a 13-point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter and thereafter had little trouble finishing off a victory that pulled them ahead of Denver for the third-best record (49-23) in the Western Conference.
"You should have seen last night on the plane and on the bus. Guys felt terrible," Crawford said. "Games like this couldn't come fast enough for us. We just wanted to get back on track."
Returning from a three-game absence, Billups added 11 points before sitting out most of the second half, again because of tightness in his groin.
"It was a little bit sore and I just want to be smart with it, see the big picture," Billups said. "It's frustrating being in and out like that, but I just want to try to get healthy because the only way I'm going to be able to help the team is if I'm healthy."
Eric Gordon scored 24 and Anthony Davis had 19 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
"For the most part we forgot a bit about how we won these past three games: Defending, moving the ball and playing with a level of force that's necessary to have a chance," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "Even when we scored, they were hard scores."
The Clippers combined for 13 3-pointers on 29 attempts, with Billups and Crawford each hitting three.
Robin Lopez scored 13 for New Orleans, which outshot Los Angeles, 49.3 percent (35 of 71) to 46.6 percent (34 of 73). But New Orleans missed 10 of 14 from deep and turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 20 Clippers points.
"We kind of beat ourselves. We really didn't move the ball very well and we took tough shots," Hornets forward Ryan Anderson said. "We didn't really battle. We just didn't have it like we had the last couple of games."
Continue reading this story on the...