LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul was cleared for takeoff in D.C. on Monday and the Clippers point guard took flight, dunking not once, but twice in Los Angeles's 108-91 win over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Don't look now, but the Los Angeles Clippers are 2-0 without Blake Griffin.
Griffin, who is out with a torn left quadriceps injury, watched from home as his teammate Chris Paul took over the dunking duties for the former NBA All-Star slam dunk champion on Monday night.
Paul had two dunks on the evening, including a highlight-reel worthy one-handed slam as the Clippers steam rolled the reeling Wizards.
"I met my quota," Paul joked of his first two dunks of the season. "I usually get one or two for the season."
Paul led the team in scoring as well with 23 points and 7 assists. DeAndre Jordan once again anchored the defense scoring 15 points, with 13 rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 21 points off the bench.
In his first game back in Washington D.C. since leaving the team in free agency this summer, Paul Pierce was inserted into the starting lineup in place of the ignominious Josh Smith (who was the only Clippers player not to see the floor).
Pierce chipped in nine points, helping the Clippers jump out to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter, as LA led from wire-to-wire in their third consecutive victory.
The Wizards meanwhile are a sinking ship as they fell below .500 and are currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The Wiz have slowly become an NBA Championship contender in recent years, but with injuries to Bradley Beal, Nene, Gary Neal and Drew Gooden, they are quickly falling out of the playoff picture.
John Wall led Washington with 23 points and 11 assists, Marcin Gortat scored 12 points to go with his 16 rebounds, and Otto Porter chipped in 21 points off the bench.
The Clippers led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, but saw their lead shrink to 12 (79-67) with just under two minutes left to play in the quarter. Two quick three-pointers by Wesley Johnson and Jamal Crawford increased the lead back to 15 points heading into the fourth quarter.
MVP OF THE GAME
Chris Paul. Going against one of the league's best point guards in John Wall rejuvenated CP3, as he scored 23 points in just 27 minutes.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Jamal Crawford passed James Worthy for No. 95 on the NBA's all-time points leaderboard.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Dunk Party! Everyone's invited!
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman, them boys up to something!
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I only spent one year here, but I feel like I really became a part of this city. D.C. is forever going to be in my heart." – Clippers forward Paul Pierce on his return to D.C.
The Clippers have now won three games in a row after dropping a heart breaker at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.
The Wizards four-game winning streak was snapped with the loss.
Austin Rivers returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a high ankle sprain.
Los Angeles Clippers (19-13, 9-7 on the road) 2nd in Pacific Division
Washington Wizards (14-15, 7-8 at home) last in the Southeast Division
The Wizards travel to Canada where they will take on the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night at 4:30PM PST.
The Los Angeles Clippers continue on their road trip as they travel to Charlotte to tango with Michael Jordan's Hornets on Wednesday night at 4:00PM PST.