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Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012

Clippers top Jazz for 16th straight win

AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Chris Paul could hardly be heard over Jay-Z's pounding music as his Los Angeles Clippers teammates sang along in the visitors' locker room.

News photo
Still going strong: Clippers forward Blake Griffin fouls Jazz guard Randy Foye during their game on Friday in Salt Lake City. The Clippers won 116-114. AP

And why not?

The Clippers had just pulled off a 19-point comeback for their 16th straight victory — in a venue where they had often struggled.

Paul did most of the damage, leading the Clippers (24-6) with 29 points, including the final seven, as Los Angeles squeaked out a 116-114 win Friday night over the Utah Jazz.

The Clippers' winning streak is the longest in the NBA since Boston won 19 games in a row from Nov. 15 to Dec. 23, 2008.

The last time the franchise won three straight in Salt Lake City was 1979-81 when they were the San Diego Clippers.

"This one is a great win for us because we kind of needed a challenge," said Blake Griffin, who added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers. "(We had) to prove not only to everybody else but to ourselves that we can still win close games like this and win a game down 19 in the third quarter."

In the opposing locker room, the Jazz were lamenting another one that got away — the second loss at home to the Clippers during their franchise-record streak. Utah dropped the first by one on Dec. 3 after leading by 14.

On Friday, ex-Clipper Randy Foye put up a 3-pointer at the buzzer that was contested by Matt Barnes, but no foul was called. Foye finished with a season-high 28 points for Utah.

Foye did his best not to say anything about the officiating.

"I felt as though I pump-faked," Foye said. "He knew that I wanted to shoot the 3 and I felt the contact. He made me go straight up and shoot the ball straight down. It was just a tough play."

Paul was tough down the stretch, hitting the clinching free throws after getting fouled by Al Jefferson with 3.4 seconds left.

"When (DeAndre Jordan) came to give me the ball screen, I wasn't worried about (Gordon) Hayward, I was just worried about Al Jefferson," Paul said. "I could tell (Jefferson) was going to try and blitz me. Anytime two guys try and trap me, I'm always going to attack the slower guy. If they wouldn't have called the foul, I was right around Al anyway."

Paul sank both free throws this time, after missing one with 18 seconds left that allowed Jefferson to grab the rebound, draw a foul and sink two free throws at the other end to tie it 114-114.

Paul made sure he hit both the next time.

"Man, I couldn't wait to get to the line. I couldn't wait to get to the line," Paul said. "I was mad at myself for missing that last one. I couldn't wait to get to the line to redeem myself."

Nets 97, Bobcats 81

New York, Brooklyn gave P.J. Carlesimo a victory in his debut and Charlotte a 17th straight loss, getting 26 points and 11 rebounds from Brook Lopez in a rout.

A day after firing Avery Johnson, the Nets played as they did last month, when they were 11-4 and Johnson was Eastern Conference coach of the month. They are just 4-10 in December, a slump that cost Johnson his job, but got back over .500 with ease.

Pistons 109, Heat 99

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists, leading another spirited performance by the Detroit reserves, and the Pistons beat short-handed Miami despite 35 points by LeBron James.

The Heat were without Dwyane Wade, suspended for a game by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with a Charlotte player on Wednesday.

Pacers 97, Suns 91

In Indianapolis, George Hill scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers, and led Indiana over Phoenix.

Paul George had 15 points, and David West added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who have won four straight and seven of eight.

Nuggets 106, Mavericks 85

In Dallas, Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points, and Denver spoiled Dirk Nowitzki's first home game since returning from knee surgery by beating the hosts.

Nowitzki had five points in 17 minutes in his third game back, and the Mavericks lost their fifth straight for the first time since January 2011.

Wizards 105, Magic 97

In Washington, Jordan Crawford scored 27 points, and worst-in-the-NBA Washington showed it can still win a game every once in a while, breaking an eight-game losing streak with a victory over Orlando.

Hawks 102, Cavaliers 94

In Cleveland, Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points, and Atlanta scored the game's final nine points to beat the Cavs.

Teague's jumper from the foul line gave the Hawks a 95-94 lead with 2:32 remaining and sparked the run that sent Atlanta to its third straight win.

Spurs 122, Rockets 116

In San Antonio, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score 84 points, and the Spurs snapped Houston's five-game winning streak.

Raptors 104, Hornets 97 (OT)

In New Orleans, DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Kyle Lowry had two big baskets in overtime, and Toronto held off the Hornets.

Kings 106, Knicks 105

In Sacramento, James Johnson made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting the Kings to a victory over New York after blowing an early 27-point lead.

Lakers 104, Trail Blazers 87

In Los Angeles, Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, and the Lakers never trailed in beating Portland for their sixth win in seven games.

Warriors 96, 76ers 89

In Oakland, David Lee had 25 points and 12 rebounds, one of six Golden State players in double figures, and the Warriors held off a late charge in the fourth quarter to beat Philadelphia.



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