The Clippers definitely know how to keep it interesting.
Los Angeles lost a 19-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but escaped with a 133-124 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
For the first time in franchise history, four of the Clippers starters each scored over 20 points as Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick combined for 107 total points.
Redick led the way in his first game back from an ankle injury, scoring a team-high 31 points connecting on 7-of-11 from beyond the arc.
"It was an offensive game, neither team was getting stops," said Redick. "For me, obviously I had a four days of rest, so I felt really fresh. I got into a good rhythm early, not just shooting, but making plays, driving and throwing lobs for uncontested dunks."
Griffin fell one assist shy of a triple-double, finishing the game with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. DeAndre Jordan had 23 points and 18 rebounds for his 36th double-double of the season.
In a matchup of two of the NBA's top point guards, Chris Paul posted 27 points and 13 assists, compared to the Wizards' John Wall who had a game-high 41 points and eight assists.
"I was just trying to be aggressive and keep making shots while opening up the floor for my teammates," said Wall after the game. "Even though we didn't play great defense, we all had plenty of scoring opportunities to cut the lead down and decrease their advantage. We lived and died by the deep ball tonight."
The backcourt combination of Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 68 points.
The Clippers gave their fans a brief moment of déjà vu early in the fourth quarter when the Wizards quickly erased a 19-point deficit, cutting the lead to just six before Doc Rivers took a timeout and inserted all his starters.
On Sunday, the Clippers coughed up an 18-point lead in the final five minutes in a monumental collapse against the Sacramento Kings.
"We have to figure out a way to finish games off and not play the score, but play the game," said Clippers' center DeAndre Jordan. "We've done that the past few games and it's come back to bite us. We have to be able to sustain leads and that's going to continue to hurt us if we don't fix it."
For the second straight game, the Clippers' bench struggled to play with the lead, posting a combined -27 when they were on the court, compared to a +65 for the starters.
"Our bench was great in the first half, but they just didn't close the game," said Rivers. "We didn't have our normal bench tonight and looking back, I should have put our normal bench on the floor."
Rivers was without the services of his son, Austin, the team's shooting guard off the bench. They younger Rivers strained his left hamstring in the first quarter and did not return to the game.
The Wizards had most of the morning to soak up some of the Southern California sunshine after defeating the Lakers, 119-108, a night prior.
The Clippers kept pace with the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder who each won on the night. The Jazz currently hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference, 1.5 games ahead of the Clippers who are in fifth, just one game ahead of the Thunder who sit in sixth.
"Obviously, we let one get away the other day," said Paul about the team playing with urgency with the way the standings sit. "We came out tonight and competed. I think we played the right way and it was a good win for us. It's about consistency. We have to do it again and again."