LOS ANGELES -- Some strange things have happened to the Los Angeles Clippers before, during and after games during the team's 27 seasons in Los Angeles -- but nothing like this.
About 1½ hours before their 100-92 victory over Cleveland on Saturday, Staples Center was in lockdown while police subdued a man wielding a steak knife in front of the Cavaliers' bench. Both teams were safely tucked away in their dressing rooms during the tense standoff before the culprit was subdued by a beanbag gun, handcuffed and led away.
The incident did not delay the start of the game, which was followed by an NHL contest between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
"That was crazy, man. There aren't too many knife standoffs in Oklahoma -- not that I can remember. So it's a first for me," said Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, the former Sooners forward. "I was sitting in here next to D.J. [DeAndre Jordan] and Randy Foye came in and said: `Yo, somebody just pulled a knife.' I was like, `What?' And then they explained the whole thing. We were trapped in here for a while. But both teams had to go through it, so it didn't really put us at a disadvantage."
Coaches Vinny Del Negro of the Clippers and Byron Scott of the Cavaliers requested some extra time for their teams to warm up, but were turned down by the league office.
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"We asked for 15 more minutes. In fact, we agreed on it -- myself and Vinny -- and the NBA said five, which I don't understand," Scott said. "I mean, either give us 15 or don't give us any. What's five minutes going to do? What the hell is that? That didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
"It was a weird day, period," Scott added. "You had things happen throughout the day, but you've just got kind of put it in the back of your mind and play basketball. And I think both teams did that."
Griffin had 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, helping the Clippers end a nine-game losing streak against the Cavaliers. Eric Gordon scored 29 points in his return to the lineup.
Los Angeles avenged a 126-119 overtime loss at Cleveland on Feb. 11 that snapped the Cavs' NBA-record 26-game losing streak. It was the first time the team with the league's worst record lost to the Clippers since Dec. 3, 2005, at Los Angeles.
"Everybody was executing out there and hitting shots, and defensively we stepped it up a little bit in transition," Griffin said. "Anytime Eric's out there, it just opens up the court for everybody. He's such a good scorer, he puts a lot of pressure on teams. So teams have to know where he is at all times."
Gordon, the Clippers' leading scorer, missed 18 games because of a sprained right wrist and small bone fracture that occurred on Jan. 22. He sat out the previous six games after aggravating the injury in his second game back.
"I really tried to play with no restrictions," Gordon said. "I tried not to pay attention to it. If it gets knocked or banged, or if I land on the floor wrong like I did the other two times, it is what it is. But I've just got to keep on going out there and playing."
Baron Davis, whom the Clippers traded to Cleveland on Feb. 24 for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, did not play in his return to Staples Center because of back spasms. He scored three points in 14 1/2 minutes for the Cavs on Thursday at Portland, after missing three games because of the death of his grandmother.
Williams had 11 points and five assists in his first game against his former team. Moon spent the entire game on the bench.
Los Angeles led 54-50 at halftime, sparked by 15 points each from Griffin and Gordon. Craig Smith scored six points during a 14-4 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 46-37 lead with 5 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Clippers carried an 82-78 lead into the fourth and increased it to 100-90 on a 3-pointer by Williams with 2:07 to play.
|Blake Griffin complements his 30-point performance against the Cavs with eight rebounds and eight assists. (Getty Images)|
|L.A. Clippers (27-43) «||25||29||28||18||100|
|CLE:J. Hickson 28 Pts
CLE:J. Hickson 9 Reb
CLE:R. Sessions 7 Ast
|LAC:B. Griffin 30 Pts
LAC:B. Griffin 8 Reb
LAC:B. Griffin 8 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|A. Parker, SG||35||1-4||0-0||4||4||3||2|
|J. Hickson, PF||35||12-18||4-4||9||4||3||28|
|R. Sessions, PG||34||7-13||4-4||3||7||1||18|
|S. Samuels, PF||32||6-9||5-7||5||1||6||17|
|A. Gee, SF||31||3-5||3-3||7||1||0||9|
|D. Gibson, PG||28||4-12||0-0||6||3||2||10|
|R. Hollins, C||19||0-0||1-2||1||0||2||1|
|C. Eyenga, SF||10||1-6||0-0||1||0||0||2|
|L. Harangody, PF||9||1-5||0-0||1||0||2||2|
|M. Harris, PG||7||1-3||0-0||0||0||1||3|
|A. Jamison, PF||Did Not Play|
|B. Davis, PG||Did Not Play|
|A. Varejao, C||Did Not Play|
|J. Graham, SF||Did Not Play|
|S. Erden, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|E. Gordon, SG||41||9-20||5-5||1||5||1||29|
|B. Griffin, PF||38||12-21||6-6||8||8||2||30|
|M. Williams, PG||27||3-6||3-4||2||5||4||11|
|D. Jordan, C||21||0-1||0-0||6||1||4||0|
|R. Gomes, SF||13||1-1||0-0||1||0||0||2|
|R. Foye, PG||30||1-4||1-1||4||6||2||4|
|E. Bledsoe, PG||24||3-5||0-0||3||0||0||6|
|C. Smith, PF||21||6-9||0-0||4||0||1||12|
|C. Kaman, C||17||2-9||0-0||3||0||2||4|
|A. Aminu, SF||9||0-1||2-2||2||0||0||2|
|B. Cook, PF||Did Not Play|
|I. Diogu, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Moon, SF||Did Not Play|
|W. Warren, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|