Blake Griffin and Chris Paul discuss Clippers victory over Miami [Video]
In a game that took on an almost playoff-like intensity and physicality, the Clippers beat the Miami Heat in overtime, 95-89, at Staples Center on Wednesday.
Beating the Heat, the team many predict will win a championship this season, was a huge infusion of confidence for a team that's trying to establish its relevance in Los Angeles.
"The level was definitely raised a bit," said Blake Griffin, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 27 points on 11 for 21 shooting while Caron Butler added 20 points. They combined for 21 points in the third quarter, helping turn a 48-43 halftime deficit into a 70-69 fourth-quarter lead for the Clippers.
"He was unbelievable," Griffin said of Paul. "He is so tough to guard because you never know what he is going to do. He can hit that jumper or get to the rim, shoot a floater or pass it and that is why he is the best."
Amid the lobs and sharp shooting, there was one play that Paul orchestrated in the second half that will surely make the highlight reels.
Paul rolled the ball on the floor after an inbounds pass, beckoning the defense to run toward him. As soon as they took the bait, he snatched the ball and lobbed it to DeAndre Jordan for a powerful jam.
Jordan was also instrumental in the team's victory. He played solid defense and was a strong force in the middle, finishing with eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots. There was one play with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth in which Jordan scored a layup then came down on the other end and rejected a shot.
"Six blocks doesn't tell the real story of how he played," said Paul. "He gained possessions for us."
The game was sent into overtime after a few Heat errors down the stretch, including LeBron James fouling Chauncey Billups from the three-point line with 27 seconds remaining and the Clippers trailing 84-83. Billups made each of his free throws.
In overtime, the Clippers held Miami to only three points, sealing the impressive victory for the Clippers.
Despite the temptation, Paul resisted rubbing the win in the face of his good friend James. When asked by a reporter what he's going to say to his superstar buddy, he said, "Good game."