Paul takes control down stretch as Clippers coast win over Suns
Chris Paul dominated in the second half and DeAndre Jordan did likewise throughout the game at the defensive end.
Paul had 32 points and nine assists, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
Jordan finished with 18 rebounds and 12 points and blocked seven shots.
"I thought this was a Picasso," coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought he was the star of the game. D.J. not only hit the boards, he changed shots. He was everywhere. I mean, his energy tonight was amazing. He was a one-man wrecking crew. I don't know how many blocked shots he had, but it felt like he had 30. And the ones he didn't block, he changed. They were throwing shots all over the place because of it."
Jordan played in his 248th consecutive regular-season game, the longest streak among active players and one shy of Freeman Williams for third place in franchise history behind Randy Smith (595) and Michael Brooks (293).
"D.J. is one of those guys that thankfully doesn't miss games," Paul said. "I almost couldn't imagine him not out there, because he covers so much on the defensive end. When guys blow by us, they know that not they've got to see D.J. when they get into the lane."
Blake Griffin scored 19 points and Spencer Hawes had 14 points and eight boards off the bench for the two-time defending Pacific Division champions, who were coming off an 89-85 loss to the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Gerald Green scored 26 points for Phoenix and was ejected with 1:57 remaining after picking up his second technical foul. Goran Dragic added 19 for the Suns, who shot 38 percent from the field in the opener of a six-game road trip.
Marcus Morris missed nine of 10 shots and finished with three points in 18 minutes. Former Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe missed all six shots and ended up with one point and 10 assists in 34 minutes.
The Clippers took charge in the third, outscoring Phoenix 42-20 to pull ahead 96-74.
"We played decent for a half. But in the third quarter, we gave them too many easy plays," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "They made three or four 3s to start the half that were uncontested, and they kept going from there. Our guys tried to make a run at the end, but that's too hard to do against a good team."
The Suns, who trailed by as many as 26 points, got as close as 105-94 on a 3-pointer by Isaiah Thomas and a driving layup by Green with 6:01 to play.
Clippers forward Matt Barnes was ejected with 4:27 remaining after getting his second technical foul with Los Angeles ahead 111-94.
The first half ended in a 54-all tie. Alex Len, the first player off the Suns' bench, picked up three fouls in his first 3:42 on the court and finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes.
Suns: Phoenix lost three times to the Clippers during a 16-game stretch last March and finished one game behind Dallas for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot -- despite 48 victories in Hornacek's first season as their coach. They haven't made the postseason since 2010. ... In all five of their victories, the Suns' leading scorer has come off the bench -- Thomas three times and Green twice. Neither had a point during the first 16 minutes.
Clippers: The Clippers have not lost consecutive home games since Nov. 3-5, 2012, when Golden State and Cleveland beat them. ... Paul played his 200th regular-season game with the club. The six-time All-Star has 6,193 assists, 45 behind Jerry West for 25th place on the career list.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Clippers swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts sat out his second straight game because of a sore right Achilles. "From what I understand, he had the problem and didn't really express it to the trainers," Rivers said. "So my guess it that it probably affected him. But he's new, and he wanted to play. So he didn't want to say anything. Then it got to a point where it really started affecting him, so he finally had to say something. I don't think there's any timetable. Maybe a week or two, I don't even know that. It's part of NBA life."
Suns: Visit Boston on Monday.
Clippers: Host Chicago on Monday.