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Clippers down Lakers to win Pacific Division
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - For decades the Clippers were irrelevant in the city of Los Angeles.
It was only fitting that they clinched their first division title in the 42- year history of the franchise at the expense of their Staples Center co- tenants.
Chris Paul tallied 24 points and 12 assists in the Clippers' 109-95 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers to end their five-year run atop the Pacific Division.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Bobcats are the only teams in NBA history to not win a division championship.
The Clippers also swept the season series against the Lakers for the first time since 1974-75 when they were the Buffalo Braves.
Blake Griffin added 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers, who have won two straight on the heels of a three-game skid. They've already set a franchise mark for wins in a season.
"We did a tremendous job of starting the second half. This is my first division win, but we kind of had the mind set that this was what we're suppossed to do," Griffin said.
Jamal Crawford poured in 20 points off the bench in the triumph.
Kobe Bryant finished with 25 points, 10 assists and seven boards for the Lakers, who are now one-half game out of the eighth playoff spot. Utah seized it from them with a victory over Golden State on Sunday.
"Give them credit, they hit big shots, they played well. They're very athletic, they're long and they're good. They were quicker to the ball than we were," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said.
The Lakers have five games remaining, four of them at the Staples Center.
Dwight Howard chipped in 25 points as LA had its three-game winning streak snapped.
The Clippers entered the break with a 56-49 advantage and stretched their cushion in the third after beginning the frame on a 10-4 run.
Paul and Griffin had four points apiece during the surge, with the latter's reverse dunk capping the burst and making it 66-53 with 8:10 remaining in the stanza.
The Clippers took an 82-70 spread into the fourth and the margin reached its peak at 16 over the final 12 minutes.
The Clippers are 20-17 on the heels of their franchise-record 17-game winning streak in December ... Steve Nash sat out the tilt for the Lakers ... The Clippers held an 18-9 edge in fastbreak points.
04/07 22:28:35 ET