On a night when Blake Griffin had the worst offensive performance of his brief but eventful NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers, Greivis Vazquez’s work at the offensive end combined to give the Hornets a positive end to a ugly road trip.
Vasquez had 25 points and 10 assists, and the Hornets’ big men took Griffin totally out of the game in transit to a 105-98 victory that ended the New Orleans Hornets’ 7-game losing streak.
”It’s been tough for us the entire week, and at the end of the road trip we get this win. It will build some confidence, particularly with a young team like this,” Vasquez expounded. ”We came out here with a mission. We did not care who we were going to play. We just needed to compete and show who we are.”
Griffin made just one of 9 shots in 35 minutes, finishing with a career-low 4 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out with 2:36 left in the game. It marked only the 4th time the 2-time All-Star did not reach double digits in scoring in 173 NBA regular season and playoff games.
The New Orleans Hornets weren’t quite as physical with Griffin as they were last season – at least there were no flagrant fouls this time on him. In the previous meeting on April 22 at Los Angeles, Robin Lopez was assessed a flagrant 2 for hooking Griffin round the neck on a tried breakaway layup. On March 22 at New Orleans, Jason Smith was called for a flagrant 2 for bodyslamming Griffin to the floor on a fast break and was postponed for 2 games – including the rematch 4 nights later at Staples Center.
”I thought Ryan did a good job of frustrating Blake tonight, simply by bodying him. But let’s be honest, sometimes players just miss shots. So I won’t say it was all our defense,” New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams said. ”Our team concept was to load up on him for just make it hard. You have got to run different guys at him because he’s an unusual player.”
Griffin, the No.1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, was held to 3 baskets on 4 occasions – including Game 7 of the Clippers’ winning 1st-round series against the Grizzlies, when he was 3 for 11 with just 8 points in the 82-72 clincher at Memphis.
The Los Angeles Clippers got as near as 101-95 with 2 free throws by Griffin, a 3-pointer by Paul and 2 more foul shots by Jamal Crawford with 1:38 left. But their perimeter shooting went cold after that.
Eric Gordon, who has played in only 9 games for the Hornets since they acquired him from the Clippers with Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman in the Chris Paul agreement, has still to play this season due to soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. Gordon hasn’t played for New Orleans since April 22, when he had 17 points, 6 turnovers and shot 4 for 13 from the field in the Hornets’ 107-98 loss the Clippers at Los Angeles. NFL lines