Clippers hold off Wizards
LOS ANGELES -- Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman blamed the breaks of the game for his club coming up short against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
With Clippers forward Blake Griffin scoring 29 points, Los Angeles posted a 110-103 win over the Wizards at Staples Center.
"We battled the last few minutes. They made some plays down in the end, and give them credit, they pulled it out," Wittman said.
Four clutch free throws by center DeAndre Jordan, whom Wittman decided his team should intentionally foul twice, sparked the Clippers to their fourth win in a row. Jordan, who shoots a shade over 40 percent from the free-throw line, finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds. He converted six of his 10 foul shots.
"I'll probably ask (coach) Doc (Rivers) if I can shoot the techs from now on," Jordan joked after the game.
Guards Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, for Los Angeles, which played at home for the first time since wrapping up a 5-2 road trip. Griffin, who hit 12 of 20 shots, had nine rebounds but committed a game-high six turnovers. The Clippers (33-15) also got 16 points and nine assists from point guard Darren Collison.
Guard Bradley Beal led Washington (22-23) with 20 points, while point guard John Wall added 19 points and 11 assists. Forward Nene chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
"We just missed shots," said Washington forward Trevor Ariza, who had 13 points and six assists but missed all six of his 3-point attempts. The Wizards shot just 3-for-22 (13.6 percent) from behind the arc compared to 6-for-15 (40 percent) for Los Angeles. "We got good looks. We got what we wanted, made the right plays. They just did a good job defensively."
Washington, which was playing its second game in as many nights after beating the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, again failed in a bid to top the .500 mark for the first time since the 2009 season. Seven times the Wizards had a chance to top the elusive mark this season, and seven times they failed.
Instead, the Wizards fell to the Clippers for the 10th time in the past 11 meetings, including six in a row at Staples. The Wizards haven't beaten the Clippers in Los Angeles since February 2008.
"It wasn't pretty, that's for sure," said Crawford, who shot 4-for-12 from the floor, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range, but hit 11 of his 12 free throws. "It was a grind-it-out game. We withstood their run, we leaned on our defense, and whenever we do that, we have a good chance to win."
The Clippers led 62-51 at the half behind Griffin's 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. They increased their advantage to 72-56 four minutes into the third quarter after a basket by Collison. The Wizards rallied and cut the deficit to 81-74 heading into the fourth quarter.
Washington closed to within one several times during the fourth quarter but failed to take the lead.
"This was a good win for us," Rivers said. "That was a hard game in my opinion. We still think that we are on this road trip. I just thought that was a really hard game for us, but we played really well."
A layup by Wizards reserve center Kevin Seraphin cut the gap to 100-99 with three minutes remaining in the game, but a layup by Collison and two free throws by Jordan, who was intentionally fouled, gave the Clippers a five-point advantage with 2:21 left.
Beal missed two free throws with 2:07 remaining before the Wizards intentionally fouled Jordan again. Jordan both for a 107-99 lead with 2:02 left.
NOTES: Clippers C DeAndre Jordan tied Danny Manning for fourth place on the franchise list for consecutive games at 206. Jordan has the NBA's longest active iron-man streak. ... Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers continues to campaign for Jordan to be added to the All-Star roster, with the reserves being announced Thursday. Jordan leads the league in rebounding and field-goal percentage. ... Rivers said Washington G Bradley Beal, second on the team in scoring at 17 points per game, is an underrated defender. "I think people look at him as a shooter, but they should look at him as far more than that," Rivers said. ... The Clippers visit the Golden State Warriors on Thursday in another clash between the Western Conference contenders who quickly have become heated rivals. ... The Wizards begin a five-game homestand Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.