Chris Paul powers Clippers to 112-100 victory over 76ers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Once Chris Paul stepped up his play for the Los Angeles Clippers, it was all over for the pesky Philadelphia 76ers.
Paul scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half, leading Los Angeles to a 112-100 victory Saturday.
“We were just trying to figure things out, because all game long we couldn’t get much separation from them. They’re a gritty team,” Paul said. “It’s going to be like that some nights, and luckily we started to get some stops and made some big shots down the stretch to get separation.”
DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 20 rebounds, helping the Clippers (40-26) to their fourth win in five games. Paul also had seven assists, and Blake Griffin added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“If you show up and expect to beat them like you did three years ago, you are going to get beat,” Griffin said.
The Clippers trailed 79-75 after three quarters but opened the final period with a 10-0 run. Los Angeles has beaten Philadelphia in 10 of their last 11 meetings.
“We were able to get stops when we needed to and then we executed offensively,” Jordan said. “It was energy and effort down the stretch and throughout the game that got us back in it and spread the lead out for us.”
Richaun Holmes led Philadelphia with 24 points and nine rebounds. Dario Saric added 16 points, and Jahlil Okafor had 14.
The Sixers (23-42) have lost four in a row and seven of eight overall. They haven’t beaten the Clippers in Los Angeles since March 2011.
“CP showed his veteran leadership and pretty much took over the game,” said T.J. McConnell, who had nine points and 10 assists for Philadelphia. “We’re playing hard but we couldn’t get stops.”
Both teams had 41 rebounds, and Los Angeles improved to 31-8 this season when it equals or outrebounds its opponent.
The Sixers, who shot 47.6 percent from the field, fell to 8-23 on the road this season.
“We competed, I thought at a high standard,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “We were ahead at halftime. We were ahead going into the fourth period. We stuck with a nine-man rotation and I thought our guys fought to the end. We came up short these last two games but we’re competing and that’s what we have to do the rest of the season.”
With the win and Utah’s loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday, Los Angeles trails the Jazz by one game for the fourth playoff spot. The teams play Monday night at Utah.
Sixers: In 13 games dating to Feb. 8, Saric is averaging 19.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists and shooting 48.6 percent. Only Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMarcus Cousins, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook have registered similar numbers during that span. ... Robert Covington had 13 points.
Clippers: After starting the season 14-2, the Clippers are 26-24. They are just 5-5 since the All-Star break.
Saric has nine 20-point games to his credit this season, second among NBA rookies, trailing only his teammate Joel Embiid. Entering Saturday’s game, Saric led all rookies with 403 rebounds.
“He’s had an excellent year,” Brown said.
Embiid and Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute are two of three active NBA players from Cameroon. Countryman Pascal Siakam plays for Toronto.
Embiid met with doctors in Los Angeles on Friday to discuss options on repairing his torn meniscus in his left knee.