Cleveland forward J.J. Hickson, bottom, looks to pass after retrieving a loose ball against the Los Angeles Clippers.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.
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About 1½ hours before their 100-92 victory over Cleveland 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.
"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."
J.J. Hickson led the Cavs with 28 points and nine rebounds, and Samardo Samuels scored 17 before fouling out with 1:19 remaining.