Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/5/13
WASHINGTON -- In the midst of their annual Grammy road trip and already playing without maestro Chris Paul, the Clippers learned moments before Monday's tipoff their Lob City band would also be without Blake Griffin. Having played short-handed during most of the season, the Wizards had no sympathy. Martell Webster scored 21 points and sank five 3-pointers as the Washington Wizards continued wrecking havoc on division leaders with a 98-90 victory over the Clippers, snapping a four-game losing streak. Paul has missed the Clippers' last eight games with a bruised right kneecap, but Griffin's absence because of a hamstring problem was surprising and was a last-minute decision, according to coach Vinny Del Negro. It was also unfortunately timed. The reeling Pacific Division leaders, who are on the road because Staples Center will host the Grammy Awards on Sunday, have now lost two straight games and six of their last eight. "It's frustrating because we're giving back a lot of what we had built up in the season," Del Negro said. "But you can't control the injuries, you can't control the schedule, you can't control so many guys being out. We can't use that as an excuse." Nene and Garrett Temple each scored 15 points, and John Wall had 13 points and eight assists for the Wizards (12-35), who pulled away with a 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter for their first win over the Clippers (34-16) since 2009. Griffin missed his entire rookie season with a broken kneecap. Since then the explosive forward had played in 197 consecutive games, including 37 minutes in Sunday's loss at Boston. In 49 games this season, Griffin is averaging 18.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. "I knew it was bothering him. Big picture, be smart," said Del Negro, who added he learned of Griffin's unavailability as the team headed to the court. The team's own Twitter account did not provide an update until tipoff. Del Negro did not have prognosis on Griffin's status going forward. "I have no idea. We'll see how he feels tomorrow," the coach said. Paul participated in pregame shootaround and Del Negro labeled the point guard as day-to-day. Coming off a three-game road losing streak and having played most of the season without Wall and several other key players, Wizards coach Randy Wittman had plenty to say following Washington's latest win over a noted contender. As a reporter mentioned the Clippers played without their two stars, Wittman bristled, "Hey listen, we played enough games this year without players. Don't give me any crap about who was here and who wasn't here. This is a game and we won." Winning is just about all Washington has been doing at home lately. The Wizards have won five of six home games, including victories over division leaders Oklahoma City and Chicago. Earlier this season they stunned Southeast Division-leading Miami. Jamal Crawford paced the Clippers with 28 points and DeAndre Jordan grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds. Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points and Caron Butler had 15 for Los Angeles The Wizards' recent road swing included lengthy stretches of inefficient offense, but they finished with 27 assists on 37 made baskets Monday. Webster made 5 of 6 from beyond the arc, and Temple's season-high scoring performance came on 7-of-12 shooting. Washington led after each quarter and took the lead for good on Webster's 3-pointer late in the third quarter. Leading 80-79 with less than six minutes remaining, Washington scored seven straight points, capped by Temple's mid-range jumper. After a Jordan dunk, Wall responded with a jumper and added a dunk, giving the Wizards a 91-81 lead with 2:27 left. The Clippers committed eight of their 20 turnovers in the fourth quarter. "The turnovers did us in tonight," Del Negro said. "The mix-match lineups out there a little bit, but we're trying to make plays we can't make." Lamar Odom started in Griffin's place and collectively Los Angeles started slowly, trailing 24-16 after the first quarter. Crawford spurred the scoring with 12 of his 15 points in the second quarter, but Washington entered halftime up 51-46. Odom fouled out with three points and nine rebounds. The team's split the season series. The Clippers won in Los Angeles 94-87 on Jan. 19. Washington had lost eight straight against Los Angeles, including three at home. "This is the first time we beat them since I was here," Wall said. "We just made plays down the stretch, got a comfortable lead, got a couple of stops and closed it out." NOTES: Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed his fourth straight game with a right wrist sprain. ... Del Negro anticipates Chauncey Billups returning to the lineup before Paul though offered no timetable or assurance either guard would play on the current road swing. Billups has not played since Dec. 3 because of tendinitis in his left foot. ... On Wednesday, the Clippers face the Orlando Magic and the Wizards play host to the New York Knicks, leaders of the Atlantic Division.
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