The Los Angeles Clippers welcomed Chris Paul back to the fold on Sunday after more than five weeks on the shelf with a separated right shoulder, and the star point guard wasted no time in getting back in the highlight-reel saddle. With just over five minutes remaining in the first half of Sunday's matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, Paul and All-Star running buddy Blake Griffin decided to inject a little excitement into a game that was, for all intents and purposes, utterly over about five minutes after it began:
After a pretty hideous turnover by Sixers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams that looked like an aborted lob intended for Philly center Spencer Hawes (for whom no lobs should be intended), the basketball caromed off the glass directly to Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who promptly threw a lefty hook (shouts to Billy Hoyle) over his head to Paul, who was behind the play and all alone at the free-throw line. Rather than rush in for the easy finish himself, though, Paul took one dribble before lofting the ball up off the glass, allowing a hard-charging Griffin to race in on the trail, elevate, collect the off-the-glass pass and crank up a right-handed windmill throwdown that brought teammates and fans alike out of their seats.
The highlight-reel run wasn't complete, though. After a loose ball foul by Matt Barnes on the enusing 76ers possession forced Philly to take the ball out of bounds, Carter-Williams made another errant pass, this time into the hands of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who began racing up-court with Griffin on his left, Crawford on his right and Paul trailing the play, giving L.A. a four-on-two advantage on backtracking 76ers defenders Carter-Williams and Hollis Thompson. Jordan passed to Griffin, who began to dribble around his back from right to left against Carter-Williams before redirecting the ball back to Paul on his right-hand side. Carter-Williams opened up to try to break up the pass to Paul, but slowed down in the process, with Griffin racing past him; as soon as Blake was clear, Paul put the ball in the air from just past the 3-point arc, leading to another big one-handed windmill alley-oop finish.
The consecutive crushes made the score 62-21 with 4:46 remaining in the first half, and the 41-point deficit was an entirely accurate depiction of just how much the Clips dominated the Sixers at Staples Center. L.A. scored the first 13 points of the game, led 28-5 halfway through the first quarter after Griffin fed Jordan for an alley-oop reverse flush, and scored 46 points in the first on 18 for 25 shooting, with 14 assists on those 18 makes, and a 6 for 10 mark from 3-point land (including a buzzer-beating corner 3-pointer by Willie Green to close the frame) to take a 31-point lead into the second quarter.
The rout didn't stop with the back-to-back windmills, though. Doc Rivers' team kept pouring it on, reaching a high-water mark of 56 — seriously, 56 — on a Crawford jumper that made it 89-33 at the 6:01 mark of the third quarter. The Sixers strung together some baskets and stops thereafter, leading to this:
100% guarantee this has never been said before: "The Sixers are on a 14-0 run to cut the lead to 42."
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) February 10, 2014
The Clips ended the third quarter leading 100-51 — never has Lawler's Law felt so definitive — and rode an all-reserve lineup home in the fourth to an eye-popping 123-78 annihilation of Brett Brown's bottom-feeding Sixers. Paul finished with seven points, eight assists, four steals and four turnovers in 23 minutes back in the saddle, while Griffin (26 points on 11 for 14 shooting, 11 rebounds, six assists in 25 minutes) and Jordan (10 points, 20 rebounds, four blocks in 29 1/2 minutes) led the way for the Clippers, who improved to 36-18 on the season and hold a four-game lead over the Phoenix Suns atop the Pacific Division.
If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to check out the back-to-back windmills elsewhere, thanks to kietasss.
- - - - - - -