The Clippers' starters built an 18-point lead in a torrid opening quarter only to see the reserves blow it all by halftime, leading to an angry locker room.
The starters got most of it back in third and the Clippers went on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 120-100 on Saturday night for their seventh straight victory.
"That's the most upset I've seen our team at halftime," coach Doc Rivers said. "The lesson for the second unit was make your own day. In the fourth quarter, the second unit came in and finished the job this time."
Blake Griffin scored 30 points, going over 7,000 for his career, and made 10 of 15 free throws as one of just two starters to get fouled.
J.J. Redick scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter, Jamal Crawford added 20, Chris Paul had 18 points and 16 assists, and DeAndre Jordan had 18 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Earlier in the season, the Clippers wouldn't have handled faltering in such a way. But they've grown during their current winning streak, which began with four straight wins during a recent seven-game trip.
"You can't figure out whose fault it is, you've got to find a solution," Paul said. "We let our defense create our offense."
Defensively, Griffin did a job on Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who scored 26 points but was held to a season-low three rebounds.
"To go against a guy like that is fun," Griffin said. "Just keep a body on him. It was a team effort."
Ryan Anderson scored 16 off the bench, Luke Babbitt had 12 after making four of five 3-pointers, and Omar Asik had 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which has dropped two straight and five of six.
"They shot the ball extremely well, but our first and third-quarter defense let us down," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.
The Clippers led by 18 early in the second quarter, only to watch the Pelicans tie it at 54-all at halftime. New Orleans shot 74 percent and made 5 of 6 3-pointers in the quarter, when Anderson led the way with 12 points. Babbitt hit a 3-pointer for the tie with 28 seconds left.
"We were sharing the ball, moving the ball, and we didn't care who scored. It was fun," Davis said. "But at the same time, it wasn't enough. I think I can do a better job of moving the ball even more and making the extra pass. But at the same time, the guys have to be more aggressive."
The Pelicans took their only lead of the game, 56-54, to start the third on a hook by Omer Asik. From there, the Clippers gradually pulled away to another double-digit lead on a 3-pointer by Paul. They stretched it to 93-78 at the end of the third on Paul's running layup.
Redick capped his red-hot opening quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, giving the Clippers a 34-18 lead after they shot 65 percent.
The Pelicans got back in it in the second with their five 3-pointers. Anderson had two 3s, Austin Rivers added one and Babbitt hit the tying 3 just before halftime.