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(Sunday, February 9th)
Final Score: LA Clippers 123, Philadelphia 78
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Griffin sure enjoyed Chris Paul's return to the lineup Sunday night.
Griffin finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and also had a pair of highlight-reel alley-oop slams, courtesy of Paul, as the Los Angeles Clippers dismantled the Philadelphia 76ers, 123-78, at Staples Center.
Paul, who missed 18 games with a Grade 3 AC joint separation in his right shoulder, finished with seven points, eight assists and four steals in just under 23 minutes in his return.
"It felt great to play. It looked like it was our offense, but it was really our defense tonight. Preparation has a lot to do with it. We're all making plays, it's all about winning," Paul said.
Griffin and Paul were each selected to represent the Western Conference in the All-Star game next weekend. Griffin, who received the honors in each of his four seasons as a pro, will start for third straight time. Paul, the reining All-Star game MVP, will be making his seventh appearance in the game.
Jamal Crawford finished with 21 points and DeAndre Jordan added 10 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks for the Clippers, who improved to 36-18.
It was the largest margin of victory in franchise history.
Tony Wroten scored a team-high 21 points and Thaddeus Young added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers, who have dropped six straight to fall to 14th place in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia shot an abysmal 27 percent (27-for-100) from the field and went just 3-for-28 from long distance.
The Sixers never had a chance Sunday as the Clippers opened the game on a 13-0 run. LA went 10-for-12 from the field during the run. Philadelphia finally got on the board with just over three minutes played when Young knocked down a 3- pointer.
Paul knocked down a jumper 30 seconds later to jumpstart a 15-0 run that had LA up 30-5 and the hosts' lead swelled to 31, 46-15, by the end of the quarter.
"We ran into a buzz saw. We got jumped early and didn't respond. It's not an easy thing to go through. Give them credit for their defensive intensity." said Sixers coach Brett Brown.
With 2:44 remaining in the opening stanza, Griffin hobbled to the locker room with a bruised shin.
He returned in the second quarter showing no ill affects from the minor injury, highlighting a 20-8 run with a pair of authoritative alley-oop slams from Paul.
The first came when a Michael Carter-Williams pass deflected off the backboard to Crawford, who found Paul down the court. Paul lobbed the ball off the backboard to Griffin, who finished it with a windmill slam.
On the ensuing trip down the court, Jordan intercepted a Carter-Williams pass and found Griffin, who threw a behind-the-back pass to Paul. Paul then lobbed it right back to Griffin with an underhand toss for another rim-rattling windmill slam.
LA led by as many as 43 in the second and took a 69-30 lead into the break.
Philadelphia shot just 15.4 percent (8-for-52) from the field in the first half.
It was the same story in the second half as the Clippers' lead reached 54 points, 89-33, at the midway point of the third and the Sixers never got closer than 42 the rest of the way.
"I just think they were excited to get Chris back in the lineup. You can see that in the way the guys were flying down the floor. That was really nice to see," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
LA was 50-for-89 from the field ... The Clippers scored 32 points off 18 Sixers' turnovers ... LA outrebounded the Sixers 59-44 ... The loss was the largest margin for the Sixers this season ... Carter-Williams had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the setback.
02/10 00:44:03 ET
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