WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Paul had 38 points and 12 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers shared the ball impeccably Saturday night as they wrapped up a tougher-than-it-should’ve-been East Coast road trip with a 113-97 win over the Washington Wizards.
The Clippers never trailed and had assists on 27 of their 39 field goals, including 16 of 21 in the first half. They shot 56 percent to finish 4-3 on a trip that included six Eastern Conference teams, leaving them 6-6 on the season against the pedestrian East and 10-3 against the mighty West.
Paul went 11 for 14 from the field, including 5 for 7 from 3-point range, and made all 11 of his free throws. Jamal Crawford played the fifth man instead of the sixth man, making his first start since April 9, 2012, and finished with 17 points. Blake Griffin added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Jared Dudley, who apologized to fans on Twitter and said he would bench himself if he were the coach after a 1-for-7 shooting performance Thursday at Brooklyn, found his game and carried the Clippers early, going 4 for 5 in the first quarter and finishing with 16 points.
John Wall had 24 points and 12 assists for the Wizards, who have lost four straight since reaching .500 for the first time since 2009. The outcome appeared predetermined when coach Randy Wittman announced before the game that Nene would sit out again because of a foot injury. The Wizards have lost seven in a row when Nene doesn’t play and are 3-24 without the Brazilian forward since the beginning of last season.
The Clippers, on the road since Dec. 2, had logged more than 6,000 miles on the trip and might have been tempted to have their minds on the flight back home, but they were instead a model of focused efficiency. All five starters were in double figures before the end of the third quarter.
The Clippers scored inside and out, whether it was Griffin’s throw-down slam in the first quarter — one of eight Los Angeles dunks — or the 3-pointer from former Wizards forward Antawn Jamison in the second. Paul had a run of eight consecutive Clippers points, including a short, shot-clock-beating baseline jumper after an acrobatic feed from Crawford, who was caught in midair when surprised by a defender in the corner.
A 6-0 run consisting of nothing but dunks — one by Griffin, two by DeAndre Jordan — pushed the lead to 19 in the third quarter. Wall and Kevin Seraphin (season-high 16 points) helped get the Wizards within 12 in the fourth, but a 3-pointer from Paul extended the advantage to 18 with 5:39 remaining and essentially sealed the game.
NOTES: Clippers coach Doc Rivers started Crawford ahead of Willie Green, who failed to score in 21 minutes off the bench. … Los Angeles was efficient from the free throw line as well, making 26 of 31. … Wall picked up three fouls during a 1:18 span in the third quarter.