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Friday, Nov. 16, 2012

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Drive time: Minnesota's Derrick Williams moves on Charlotte's Byron Mullens in the first half on Wednesday night. The Bobcats beat the Timberwolves 89-87. AP

Young Clippers pass early test, cool off NBA champion Heat


LOS ANGELES — In their toughest test yet of this young NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers measured themselves against the Miami Heat and liked how they stacked up.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul had double-doubles, with Paul keying a third-quarter spurt that helped carry the Clippers to a 107-100 victory on Wednesday night. They have wins over Memphis, the Lakers, San Antonio and now the defending NBA champions in their first eight games.

"These wins are good, but we're playing at home and we expect to win," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Griffin had 20 points and 14 rebounds and Paul had 16 points and 10 assists to lead five players in double figures in the Clippers' fourth straight win. Jamal Crawford added 22 points off the bench.

"We can even be better," Griffin said. "We can't rest on a win like that."

Obviously Griffin has been listening to Paul, who cautions an even-keeled approach.

"It's early, very early," Paul said. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. Just keep playing the right way every night."

LeBron James scored 30 points for the defending NBA champions, who lost their fifth in a row against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Ray Allen added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, as the Heat dropped to 2-2 on their current six-game trip.

"Tonight was not a good game for us," Dwyane Wade said. "We have some good moments, but we have to put a full game together on the road. The important thing right now is to figure out how we can get better."

The Clippers were clinging to a 72-70 lead in the third when Paul switched from distributor to scorer, running off 13 straight points and extending their lead to 85-74 going into the fourth.

"He makes things happen and that's why I've always felt that he's the best point guard in the game," James said.

Warriors 92, Hawks 88

In Oakland, rookie forward Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, making a pair of critical free throws in the final minute to help Golden State hold off Atlanta.

David Lee added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Stephen Curry scored 12 to put the Warriors ahead by 13 points early in the fourth quarter.

Grizzlies 107, Thunder 97

In Oklahoma City, Rudy Gay scored a season-high 28 points, Zach Randolph added 20 points and 11 rebounds before getting ejected along with the Thunder's Kendrick Perkins during a late-game altercation.

Bulls 112, Suns 106 (OT)

In Phoenix, Carlos Boozer had 28 points and 14 rebounds to help Chicago outlast Phoenix in overtime.

Celtics 98, Jazz 93

In Boston, Paul Pierce hit two free throws with 19.5 seconds left and finished with 23 points, lifting the Celtics to a win over Utah.

Pistons 94, 76ers 76

In Philadelphia, Greg Monroe had 19 points, 18 rebounds and six assists to help Detroit beat the Sixers for its first win of the season.

Rockets 100, Hornets 96

In Houston, James Harden scored 30 points and Omer Asik added 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Rockets held off New Orleans.

Mavericks 107, Wizards 101

In Dallas, Chris Kaman had 23 points and eight rebounds in his second start for the Mavericks, who held on to beat winless Washington.

Bobcats 89, Timberwolves 87

In Minneapolis, Kemba Walker's jumper with 0.7 seconds left lifted Charlotte over Minnesota.

Bucks 99, Pacers 85

In Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis scored 16 points apiece to help the Bucks cruise past struggling Indiana.

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