Paul scores 24 to lead Clippers past Suns

PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Paul scored 13 of his
24 points in the first quarter to help the Los Angeles Clippers run out
to an early lead and beat the Phoenix Suns 102-96 in a preseason game
Tuesday night.

Byron Mullins and Willie Green each had
15 points and DeAndre Jordan added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the
Clippers, who led by 16 at halftime en route to their second win in four
games.

Goran Dragic scored 20 points and Marcin
Gortat added 12 to lead the Suns, who had won their first three
preseason games while averaging 113 points per game.

After the Suns pulled to 95-94 on Miles
Plumlee’s short jumper with 38.8 seconds left, Lou Amundson scored on a
dunk 5 seconds later to give Los Angeles a 97-94 lead and Kendall
Marshall missed a jumper on Phoenix’s ensuing possession.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers spent the
second half in the Clippers’ locker room with an undisclosed illness.
Los Angeles assistant coach Alvin Gentry, who was fired by the Suns on
Jan. 18, took over the sideline duties.

Playing its presumptive starting lineup
for the first time, Phoenix cut into the Clippers’ lead at the start of
the second half.

Gortat and Dragic scored six points
each, and Eric Bledsoe hit a 19-foot jumper with 4:16 left in the third
quarter to pull the Suns within 66-63.

But Paul scored on consecutive jumpers
and set up Jordan for a thunderous alley-oop dunk over Bledsoe as Los
Angeles pushed its lead back to 76-66 to end the third.