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Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012

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Full steam ahead: Los Angeles' Blake Griffin moves the ball during the Clippers' 106-77 win over the Celtics on Thursday. AP

Clippers beat Celtics for 15th straight win


LOS ANGELES — The Clippers came roaring out of the opening tip and kept on going to their 15th consecutive victory.

Boosted by an early 24-9 lead their starters provided, Los Angeles beat Boston 106-77 on Thursday night to become the first team to win that many in a row since the Celtics four years ago.

Matt Barnes tied his season high with 21 points off the bench, fellow reserve Jamal Crawford added 17 points and Chris Paul had 11 assists as the Clippers scored their sixth straight blowout victory. They haven't had a close win during the streak since Nov. 28, when they beat Minnesota by six points.

"Shows we have a lot of depth. I've probably sat out more fourth quarters this season than any of my previous seven seasons," Paul said. "It's a really good feeling now, a good vibe because everyone is enjoying it."

Blake Griffin had 15 points, Caron Butler added 14 and Lamar Odom grabbed 13 rebounds to help the Clippers improve the NBA's best record to 23-6.

"Some people may be impressed by the record, but we can't be," Paul said. "We're not measured by our regular-season wins."

Griffin agreed, saying, "We want to be winning in April, May and June."

Kevin Garnett scored 16 points for Boston, which committed 18 turnovers and never led in dropping to .500 at 14-14 with its fifth loss in seven games. Paul Pierce and Jeff Green added 12 points each to go with 10 apiece from Jason Terry and Rajon Rondo.

Boston's winning streak extended to 19 games in 2008-09.

"Every individual on our team wanted to beat them and every individual tried to do it by themselves instead of just playing our game," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

It was Los Angeles' largest-ever win against Boston, coming six years to the day of their previous largest, a 100-77 victory on Dec. 27, 2006.

"I thought we came out with too much respect. We wanted to back off some of their bigs and Blake hit some shots that he doesn't usually hit," Garnett said. "They came out with a lot of confidence and they packed the paint and that is the reason why (they) have won 15 in a row. They had us on our heels all night."

Thunder 111, Mavs 105 (OT)

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 40 points while Russell Westbrook added eight of his 16 points in overtime to help the Thunder beat Dallas for their 11th straight win at home.

Serge Ibaka added 19 points and matched his season-high with 17 rebounds as Oklahoma City charged back from 10 points down in the final 7:17 of regulation and found a way to win after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Darren Collison scored a season-best 32 points for the Mavericks. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki scored nine points in his second game back after offseason knee surgery, showing some rust down the stretch.

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