Win keeps Clippers on pace with playoff leaders

BY foxsports • April 13, 2012

While no one will be bold enough to flat out admit it, but the Clippers are scoreboard watching.

A game and a half behind the Lakers for the third seed in the West and a half game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies, winning Wednesday over the Thunder was critical.

Both the Lakers and Grizzlies won Wednesday, and the Clippers wanted to keep pace.

"The way the standings look right now, it was a good opportunity for us to play our best," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "To come in here in a hostile environment and to beat this caliber of a team is a good win for us."

The Clippers have eight games left in the regular season, including another meeting with the Thunder. The Clippers travel to Minnesota Thursday.

"It gives us a lot of confidence," Clippers guard Randy Foye said. "The first thing coach said was that it was a great thing to beat this team tonight, but we still have unfinished business. We have to finish this road trip strong."

NOTES, QUOTES
Paul comes through in clutch again
   --Chris Paul came into this year with a rep of being one of the NBA's premiere crunch-time players, and Wednesday, Paul added another performance to his resume.
   Paul scored 24 points in the second half and 11 in the fourth quarter of the Clippers' comeback win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
   "This is why he is the best down the stretch to take over games for us," forward Blake Griffin said. "For him to be our guy down the stretch is perfect."
   Paul scored the Clippers' last four points on an offensive putback of his own miss and a slicing drive with less than 10 seconds left.
   "Chris took the game over when he needed to," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.
   --The Clippers have a chance to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday. The Clippers have lost to Minnesota all three times the teams have met.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: "You just have to look at yourself and ask if you are giving it your all out there, because if I'm not, I'm hurting the team, but if I am, I'm helping the team." -- Clippers guard Randy Foye on playing with intensity.

ROSTER REPORT
   PLAYER NOTES:
   --F Blake Griffin almost picked up his first triple-double of the season. Griffin scored 16 points to go with 12 rebounds and seven assists in the Clippers' win over the Thunder.
   --G Chris Paul cemented his place among the NBA's best closers Wednesday against the Thunder. Eleven of Paul's 31 points came in the fourth quarter, helping the Clippers' pick up a big win on the road.
   --F Kenyon Martin hit big shots in the second quarter, helping keep Oklahoma City within reach. Martin scored 12 points in the game, hitting six-of-nine from the field.
   --G Nick Young scored 10 points on three-of-seven from the field off the bench. But Young's real impact came on the defensive end, with him guarding Kevin Durant down the stretch of the Clippers' win.




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