LOS ANGELES (AP) It’s a rare game when the Los Angeles Clippers’ starters get to rest the entire fourth quarter.
They got the chance after pulling away from the NBA-worst Philadelphia 76ers.
Chris Paul had 24 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, and the Clippers beat the Sixers 127-91 Saturday night for their third consecutive victory.
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”Any time I can sit in the fourth quarter, I’m going to sit,” said Paul, who hurt his elbow on a rare fast break in which he crashed into the padding under the basket. ”I hope tonight can be a huge building block for our bench.”
The Clippers’ reserves outscored Philadelphia 39-17 in the fourth, led by Jordan Farmar, who had each of his 13 points in the period.
”Our bench played better and with a lot more energy,” coach Doc Rivers said.
J.J. Redick had 17 points and Blake Griffin scored 15 to help send the 76ers to their sixth straight loss against the Clippers. They ended 2014 with a 21-point win over the lowly Knicks and built an early 19-point lead against the even worse 76ers.
It didn’t entirely hold up, with the Sixers cutting their deficit to four in the third.
”We had a great start and sort of got complacent,” Paul said.
Tony Wroten scored 27 points, Robert Covington added 23 and former UCLA star Luc Mbah a Moute had 14 for the 76ers, who fell to 4-28 with their fifth straight loss overall and fifth in a row on the road. Nerlens Noel had 12 rebounds.
”It was a great experience for us, to come out here and play some of the perennial All-Stars in this league,” Noel said about Philadelphia’s 0-5 West Coast trip. ”To be able to hold our own in some of these games, and just the experience itself, it’s a good teacher.”
The Sixers twice got within four early in the third on 3-pointers by Covington and Wroten. The Clippers answered with a 10-0 run, including four by Paul and a 3-pointer from Matt Barnes, to extend their lead to 77-63.
”We were feeling good at that time,” Wroten said. ”We were playing defense and moving the ball around and cut it down to four. But with playoff teams like that, you can’t make a lot of mistakes, and we turned the ball over too much and they put it away.”
Griffin dunked and Jamal Crawford made three straight free throws in a 7-0 spurt that sent the Clippers to the fourth with an 88-74 lead. Crawford finished with 12 points.
”This happens kind of regularly,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. ”We play for 36 minutes and can’t sustain it.”
The Clippers continued their roll when Farmar scored their first seven points in the final period for a 95-74 lead.
The reserves showed off their long-range shooting, with Farmar, Reggie Bullock and Spencer Hawes all hitting 3s.
76ers: G Michael Carter-Williams, the only NBA player averaging at least 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds, sat out with a shoulder injury. Wroten started in his place. … All four of their wins have come on the road. … They scored above 90 points for the first time in six games against the Clippers.
Clippers: They had two days off between games for the first time since Dec. 6. … Hawes had seven points, six rebounds and three assists against his former team. … Their winning streak against Philly dates to Feb. 10, 2012.
Wroten said he doesn’t regard the 76ers as a trap game for opponents.
”Just because of our record, it doesn’t mean it’s a rollover,” he said. ”When we step on the court, we’re trying to win every game.”
Paul watched the 76ers’ loss to Phoenix a night earlier.
”They play hard every night,” he said.
All seven of the Clippers’ reserves scored in the fourth, including little-used Ekpe Udoh, who made both of his attempts for four points.
”We planned a play for him and he made the shot,” Rivers said. ”The bench was excited for him because he works every day and never complains.”