LOS ANGELES (AP) With four games left before the playoffs, including one against second-place Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers are focused on fine-tuning themselves.
Sure, they will take another victory over the Lakers, but as Blake Griffin said, ”It doesn’t mean that much to us.”
Griffin and Chris Paul scored 23 points apiece, and the Clippers hung their third consecutive rout on the Lakers, 120-97 Sunday to take three of four games this season from their beleaguered Staples Center co-tenants.
”Our whole message is to worry about ourselves,” Griffin said. ”We know who we are. We just want to sharpen the things we do.”
It wasn’t quite the blowout of the Clippers’ previous two wins – 48 points on March 6 and 36 points on Jan. 10 – but they were easily in command as the designated home team.
”They were bigger, talented, and they played better,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said.
J.J. Redick added 15 points in his second game back from injury and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacific Division-winning Clippers, who improved to 32-6 at home while shooting 57 percent.
”It’s a game that we expected to win,” guard Jared Dudley said. ”We got up, went out there and did a good job.”
The injury-plagued Lakers were down to just eight players after guard Kent Bazemore got hurt in the second quarter. Jordan Hill led them with 22 points and Nick Young added 18 points off the bench, where there were plenty of empty seats. Jodie Meeks had 17 points.
”It’s one of those years,” forward Wesley Johnson said. ”It’s tough to fight through it.”
The Lakers’ lone win in the series, a 116-103 victory on opening night, came well before they lost Kobe Bryant and their season rapidly went downhill as the Clippers surged under new coach Doc Rivers.
The Lakers lost their fourth in a row overall, seventh straight on the road, and 10th in 13 games for their 52nd defeat of the season.
Having built a 22-point lead, the Clippers’ starters rested in the fourth, having already had two days off since their previous game.
”It’s nice to win when guys have relatively low minutes,” Rivers said.
Hedo Turkoglu roused his teammates with a driving dunk in the final three minutes.
”That might be the top team moment this year,” Griffin said. ”I’ve never seen him move that fast or jump that high.”
The Clippers reeled off eight straight points to open the third, including four by Griffin, for a 65-49 lead. Jordan dunked back-to-back, Paul made two 3-pointers, and Griffin hit 3 of 4 free throws, extending the lead to 84-65.
It grew bigger with a 10-3 spurt that sent the Clippers into the fourth leading 94-72.
The Clippers shot 62 percent and outscored the Lakers 37-23 in the third.
Young scored the first five points of the second quarter, giving the Lakers a two-point lead, their first of the game. They kept it close over the next 4 1/2 minutes before the Clippers used a 19-12 run to lead 57-49 at halftime. Griffin had eight points and Paul six in the team’s first extended offensive burst of the game.
Notes: The Lakers said Bazemore sprained his right foot and will undergo an MRI on Monday. … The Lakers were already thin, with Pau Gasol (vertigo), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Chris Kaman (strained right calf), Jordan Farmar (strained right groin), Xavier Henry (ligament, wrist and knee injuries), and Bryant sidelined. … Paul and Redick started their 18th game in the backcourt together, but first since Nov. 27, with injuries having sidelined both at various times. … Clippers F Danny Granger sat out with a strained left hamstring, while G Jamal Crawford remains out with a strained left calf. … Paul McCartney and wife Nancy took in the game sitting midway up from the court.