After a horrific ending to 2013 with a blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns on December 30th, the Los Angeles Clippers began the New Year with a 112-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Blake Griffin was unstoppable in the fourth quarter and finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds in the victory. Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 14 assist, yet the real star of the show was Jared Dudley who found his shooting touch from behind the arch. Dudley finished 6-for-9 from three point range, and scored 11 of his 20 points in the third quarter.
"I mean...Dud is a shooter. Every time I see him shoot it, I think it's going in, so we're going to keep feeding him like that," said Chris Paul.
After an up and down tight first half between the two teams, Paul had 17 points with 7 assist for the 56-56 halftime score.
Dudley opened the third quarter with along range three pointer, as the Clippers began to pull away from the Bobcats with their precise execution and proper spacing on the floor.
Although Paul was scoreless in the second half, the Clippers mounted a balanced attack that went unmatched by the Bobcats especially in the fourth quarter.
Dudley again began the quarter with a three pointer. The bench gave a valiant effort with a classy layup by Ryan Hollins from Dudley on the assist for the 87-71 lead with ten minutes left.
Battling foul trouble, Blake Griffin with about eight minutes left dominated by scoring 13 of his 31 points in the final quarter.
"They picked up their defense, made us take tough shots, and we weren't able to make them. On the offensive end, they moved the ball really well, shared the ball and made shots. We just couldn't get over the hump in the second half," said Walker on the loss.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was pleased with his teams effort at home.
The ball was flying around the floor, and that makes us really good. It makes it harder to guard Chris and Blake because you can't key on those guys. I think we got away from that a little bit, so it's good that that came back tonight," Rivers said. "We had 36 assists tonight, and you could see what we worked on yesterday at practice."
Jared Dudley understand how important his role is as a shooter, "I've just got to be aggressive and obviously make shots. I know when I play well, our team usually plays well. When you move the ball from side to side, it opens things up more. Sometimes when I do score, it just gives the other guys the confidence to do other things."
The Clippers face a tough test on the road on a back to back starting Friday night in Dallas against the Mavericks. Then on Saturday night in San Antonio against the Spurs.