Clippers extend win streak to 10 by beating Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers rallied to extend their winning streak to 10 games with a 96-87 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday, despite Chris Paul landing awkwardly after a layup and spraining his ankle.
Blake Griffin had 20 points and Paul shook off the injury to score 18 for the Clippers, who haven’t lost since Feb. 21 and pulled within two games of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second-best record in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles had its lowest points total during the streak, but won this time with defense, forcing 20 turnovers by the Jazz that led to 31 points.
The Jazz led 70-60 in the third-quarter, but the Clippers capitalized on a rash of Utah miscues and poor shot selection to go on a 20-2 run.
The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, are headed in the other direction, dropping their 19th straight game to the Indiana Pacers 101-94.
With a loss to Memphis on Saturday, the Sixers can tie the team record for consecutive defeats in a single season. The Sixers lost 20 straight games in 1973 in a 9-73 season. The NBA record for consecutive losses in a season is 26 set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
Paul George scored 25 points and David West had 18 for the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers.
In other games, the Denver Nuggets handed the suddenly reeling Miami Heat their fifth loss in six games, the San Antonio Spurs trounced the Los Angeles Lakers for their ninth straight win, and the surging Toronto Raptors won for the 11th time in 14 games, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies.
Kenneth Faried scored 24 points and Darrell Arthur led a big effort from Denver’s bench with 18 as the Nuggets topped the Heat 111-107.
Ray Allen scored 22 points for Miami, which fell three games behind Indiana in the race for the No. 1 seed in the East in the playoffs. LeBron James scored 21 points and Dwyane Wade added 19 for the Heat, who turned the ball over 20 times and shot 7 for 24 from 3-point range.
San Antonio handed the Lakers their largest defeat in their longtime rivalry, 119-85.
The Spurs never trailed after the opening four minutes, allowing coach Gregg Popovich to limit his starters and Manu Ginobili to an average of 17 minutes.
Danny Green had 15 points and Matt Bonner added 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas scored a season-high 23 points and Kyle Lowry had 22 points and 12 assists as the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors beat the Grizzlies 99-86.
The Raptors ended a four-game home losing streak against the Grizzlies and improved to 16-0 at home this season when leading after three quarters.
Elsewhere, John Wall had 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and Trevor Ariza added 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic 105-101 in overtime.
The Charlotte Bobcats, fighting with Washington for playoff position in the East, earned its eighth straight victory at home with a 105-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Charlotte remains 2½ games behind the Wizards for the sixth spot in the East.
The Phoenix Suns gained ground on the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the West with an 87-80 win over the Boston Celtics.
Goran Dragic scored 20 points for Phoenix, which ended a three-game losing streak and moved one game behind Memphis.
Cleveland’s Spencer Hawes had 22 points and 13 rebounds to help the Cavaliers erase an 18-point first-half deficit and surprise the Golden State Warriors 103-94 on the road.
And in New Orleans, Damian Lillard scored 27 points and Nicolas Batum added 22 as the Portland Trail Blazers ended a four-game skid with a 111-103 win over the Pelicans.