LOS ANGLEES (AP) – Paul George scored 22 points, Nicolas Batum added 21 and the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Clippers had their whole roster available in a 126-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets yesterday.
George, Ivica Zubac, Reggie Jackson and Norman Powell returned to the lineup, with Powell making his first appearance since November 29 after missing 10 games because of a groin injury.
After the entire roster practised together for the first time on Wednesday, the Clippers shot 50.6 per cent from the field and held the Hornets to 40.2 per cent.
“It was a sigh of relief at the start of shootaround,” George said about learning the entire roster would be available. “I think everybody was happy to have everybody healthy and we were talking about it in the locker room that we haven’t had this since the first game.”
All was not rosy with Clippers coach Tyronn Lue lamenting his team’s 27 turnovers that led to 33 Hornets points. Los Angeles offset that with a season high in points and three-point baskets (23).
“It was just good to see everybody back on the floor,” Lue said. “That’s the biggest thing, seeing everybody healthy.
“Now we have to continue building something. First game under our belt but we have a long way to go. We have to figure out rotations and the minute restrictions and the flow of games.”
Charlotte star LaMelo Ball, from nearby Chino Hills, had his first triple-double of the season. Ball had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
There was little else to celebrate for Charlotte, which trailed by 20 at 33-13 less than 11 minutes into the game. The Clippers led 37-19 after one quarter and were up 71-40 at halftime.
“When you don’t get your defence set against them, they have so much skill on the floor, and you’re always a step behind,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “When we get our defense set we’re good and when we don’t, like tonight, we’re in trouble.”
Mason Plumlee scored 18 points for the Hornets, and Jalen McDaniels added 16.
Hornets: It was Ball’s second career triple-double in a game at Los Angeles after he had one last season against the Lakers.
Clippers: Terance Mann was assessed a personal foul for shoving Kelly Oubre Jr twice near the end of the first quarter, with both players receiving technical fouls after the play was reviewed.