REACTION FROM CLIPPERS WIN IN CHARLOTTE

The Clippers destroyed the Charlotte Bobcats, 111-86, in Chris Paul’s North Carolina homecoming.

Not much of a game, to say the least. Paul was brilliant with 18 points, five rebounds, 14 assists and two steals.

Blake Griffin has 21 points and 10 rebounds while handing the Bobcats their 14th straight loss.

The Clips are back in action Monday in Dallas.

Here are some quotes from after the game:

Clippers forward Blake Griffin

(On playing with Chris Paul)
“He’s a great player. You see the way he passes the ball and how he manages the ball, manages the time, manages the whole game, and at any given point he can score if he needs to. Having a point guard be that kind of player is huge.”

(On whether the alley-oops are set plays or ‘eye contact’ in the flow of the game plays)
“Any time we draw up an alley-oop play it seems to not work, and any time we’re just out there and there’s eye contact that’s normally when it works. I think that’s the way we like to play, freely and everybody moving around the screens, and that’s what worked for us tonight.”

Clippers guard Chris Paul

(On tonight’s game)
“We knew how important this game was. It has been a long road trip. We gave one away in Cleveland – they played well but we felt like we gave one away – and this was one of those games where we knew that if we came in and made a difference early that we could put them away. There’s no reason to let a team like that stick around and then in the fourth quarter let them find a way to beat you.”

(On the mindset playing against a struggling team)
“It’s one of those things where it’s about us, and I think it’s like that for us every night. Right now we feel like as the second place team in the West we have a target on our back coming into every game so we have to approach it with the right mindset.”

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

(On tonight’s game)
“There were three things I felt were good: the field goal percentage was good, our rebounding was pretty good and our assist to turnover ratio was good. We controlled the tempo even though we put them on the line too much with 40-plus free throws. We got into the penalty early in the fourth quarter, but overall we controlled the tempo.”

(On the second unit)
“I wanted the bench guys to get more minutes, but when they (the Bobcats) went on a run the way they did, I had to control the game by bringing back in Chris (Paul) and Blake (Griffin). After a few minutes I brought back in the second unit to finish it off.”

(On Eric Bledsoe)
“I didn’t want to play him, but we had a good enough lead. He has been out for a while, so it is going to be a process. When we have a lead like we had tonight I want to put him in and get his confidence level up and see how he feels condition-wise. He has great athleticism. He fought a lot. He is still a very young player and he is trying to get back to the level he was last year.”

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LIFE WITHOUT BILLUPS

The Clippers played their first game without Chauncey Billups Wednesday and understandably it was a struggle.

And ultimately a loss as the fell 99-92 to the Cleveland Cavaliers to snap a four-game road winning streak.

Billups was lost Monday for the season to a torn left Achilles tendon injury and a Clippers team low an energy took the floor against the Cavaliers. Billups isn’t the Clippers leading scorer and he isn’t one of their two All-Stars,

But he is a hugely important veteran prescence and that loss of presence was felt Wednesday as the Clippers struggled against one of the lowly teams in the NBA.

The Clippers struggled from the field, hitting just 41 percent of their shots from the field.

Blake Griffin had 25 points and15 rebounds and Chris Paul had 16 points an 12 assists. Randy Foye, who started for Billups, had 15 point while former Cavalier Mo Williams finished with just five points on 2 of 10 shooting in his return to Cleveland.

The Cavaliers were without prized rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, who is suffering from a concussion, but Ramon Sessions – whom the Lakers are reportedly interested in – stepped in and had 24 points and 13 assists.

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BAD NEWS ON BILLUPS

The Clippers got the worst news possible on guard Chauncey Billups when an MRI Tuesday revealed he’s torn his left Achilles’ tendon.

The injury, which Billups suffered during rhe fourth quarter of Monday’s win over the Orlando Magic, will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Billups is averaging 15 points and four assists for the Clippers, who are 15-7 and in second place in the Pacific Division.

With Billups out, Mo Williams will likely move into the starting lineup with second-year guard Eric Bledsoe expected to garner more minutes off the bench.

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CLIPPERS BUILDING A ROAD IDENTITY

It takes menatl toughness to win on the road.

And the Clippers are developing that.

Even without Chauncey Billups, who was lost to an a left injury Achilles’ tendon injury, the Clippers won their fourth straight road game in a 107-102 win over the Orlando Magic in overtime.

The team that won nine road games all last season is now showing they can win tough games in difficult venues – a definite sign of a serious contender.

Caron Butler hit a huge three-pointer in overtime for the Clippers, who trailed by 15 points at one point and four in over time only to finish on an 11-2 run to close the game out,

Butler stared the game 1 for 7 from the field but was there at the end to help win it for the Clippers.

“My teammates kept believing in me,” said Billups, whop also had an important offensive rebound in OT.

The Clippers are back in action Wednesday at Cleveland.

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KENYON MARTIN AGREES TO DEAL WITH CLIPS

The Clippers filled a glaring need in the frontcourt Friday by agreeing to a contract with veteran free agent power forward Kenyon Martin. The deal is pending Martin passing a physical.

Martin had been playing with the Xinjiang Tigers in China but was allowed out of a season-long contract with the club when FIBA, which oversees international basketball, stepped in on his behalf.

In doing so the 6-9 forward was free to sign with a team in the NBA and the Clippers, who need help behind center DeAndre Jordan and power forward Blake Griffin, immediately showed interest.

Martin has career averages of 13.5 points and 7.2 rbounds over 11 seasons with the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets and averaged just over 8 points and 6 rebounds last year with the Nuggets.

Martin chose the Clippers over the Miami Heat, Lakers and Atlanta Hawks, among others showing interest, and it will be interesting to see how much his past relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups helped in swaying him to Los Angeles.

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