Paul, Griffin help Clippers cruise past 76ers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Some of the Los Angeles Clippers’ players were practicing a variety of high-flying dunks during pregame warm-ups. The fun continued when the real game tipped off.
Chris Paul had 21 points and 11 assists, Blake Griffin scored 20 points and the Clippers dunked their way to a 107-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Jamal Crawford also scored 20 points and Matt Barnes had 11 for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers. Eric Bledsoe scored 10 points while DeAndre Jordan grabbed 10 rebounds.
“We were out there having fun,” said Jordan, who watched some of those highlight-reel dunks on an iPad in the locker room. “When we’re active and moving the ball, good things happen. I think dunks and layups come when we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing on offense.”
The Clippers closed out their season-high eight-game road trip at 4-4, including consecutive wins at New York and Philadelphia.
Los Angeles won the finale with ease without guard Chauncey Billups and forward Caron Butler. Both players were nursing sore lower backs and were replaced in the starting lineup by Matt Barnes and Willie Green.
“It shows the kind of depth we have,” Crawford said. “Guys get hurt and other guys step up. It’s great to see.”
Still, the Clippers had little trouble against a rather listless Philadelphia team. They built a 27-point lead in the third quarter and kept throwing down vicious dunks. Griffin and Jordan had three big slams in the period and the Clippers ended up with 48 points in the paint by the end of the game.
Paul was the one running the offense with precision, leading to those dunks.
“I think CP is one of the best players in the world,” Crawford said. “He does everything to set us up and get us going.”
Nick Young led the Sixers with 29 points while Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Jeremy Pargo had 10 each. Spencer Hawes had 10 rebounds.
“They’re one of the highest-jumping teams in the league,” Young said. “They had it going.”
Lavoy Allen struggled against the Clippers, two nights after the best performance in his career. Allen had 14 points and a career-best 22 rebounds in an 87-76 win over Charlotte last Saturday. Against the much more athletic Clippers, Allen managed just four points and two rebounds in 28 minutes.
The Sixers ended their eight-game homestand — their longest since 1986 — with a thud, though they did finish 5-3. Philadelphia fell to 22-28 overall with one more game looming at Milwaukee on Wednesday before the All-Star break.
“We’ll be fine,” Turner said. “We’ve got to stay confident and remain focused.”
Philadelphia began the night three games behind the Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
A potential playoff spot could be even more in doubt with the uncertain future of injured center Andrew Bynum. Before the game, Bynum said he was unsure when he would make his much-anticipated debut.
“I’m not really optimistic,” said Bynum, who has yet to play for the Sixers. “When I get on the court, that’s when I’ll be ready.”
Bynum has been dealing with bilateral bone bruises on both knees since being acquired in a blockbuster 12-player, four-team trade in the offseason.
The Clippers were dominant in just about every aspect in rolling to a 56-33 lead at halftime. They shot 63 percent from the field and held the Sixers to 34 percent shooting.
NOTES: Sixers G Jason Richardson (left knee synovitis) said he’s scheduled for knee surgery on Thursday. He’s expected to miss 6-to-9 months. . The Clippers improved to 17-12 on the road. … Paul recorded his 18th double-double of the season.