Game #24
Wells Fargo Center| Philadelphia, PA
February 10, 2012 | 4:00 PM (PST)
TV: Fox Sports West
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
18 23 19 18 78
27 16 18 16 77
    The legend of Chris Paul just gained another boost.

    With the Clippers trailing by one, the All-Star point guard drilled a step-back, turnaround jumper with 3.2 seconds to go and L.A. escaped Wells Fargo Center with a 78-77 victory Friday over the Atlantic Division leading 76ers.

    Paul’s shot came after a series of Clipper miscues helped Philadelphia (18-9) erase a five-point deficit and take a 77-76 lead on two free throws by Lou Williams. But with 18 seconds left, Paul received the inbound, dribbled into the lane and dropped an errant bounce pass to Blake Griffin. As Griffin scrambled to the floor he threw a wild, high-arching pass to Kenyon Martin at the top. Martin glanced at the clock and quickly handed it back to Paul, who dribbled fellow All-Star Andre Iguodala into the lane again, turned his back, and whirled around for the clincher.

    “It was all scatter,” said Paul, who had a game-high 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting. “I probably made a bad pass in the lane and [Griffin] came up with it and threw it out top and I got it back and made a play.”

    “He was supposed to throw it to me and I was supposed to fall on the ground and throw it back to him,” Griffin joked after the game.

    Click to play audio highlights from the game! »

    Paul and Kenyon Martin stifled Lou Williams with a double team along the sideline following a Philadelphia timeout and the clock expired before the Sixers’ leading scorer could get a shot away. The Clippers (16-8) head to Charlotte Saturday winners of three of four games on their current six-game road trip.

    “[The win] is great,” Griffin said. “We knew they were going to make a run since they were playing at home. They don’t give up. They are a tough team, and I thought it says a lot about our guys the way we did that, held our ground and came up with a big win down the stretch.”

    Paul also had four assists and four rebounds, while Griffin added 16 points and 11 boards. However, if not for Paul’s final play, Friday may have gone down as “The Reggie Evans Game.”

    With the Clippers struggling to score against a Philadelphia defense ranked third in opponents’ field goal percentage, Evans along with Martin changed the game with their defensive energy and rebounding.

    On one possession, Evans snared two offensive rebounds and Martin grabbed another. Early in the fourth, after Evans switched onto Lou Williams he stole the ball, dove to the floor, and flipped it ahead to Randy Foye, who made both free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt.

    “Man, man, man. That’s all I can say,” Paul said when asked about Evans’ performance. “Reggie’s favorite quote is ‘I aint’ lyin’ and he was the player of the game, ‘I ain’t lyin’.”

    Evans finished with a season-high 10 rebounds and Martin had seven. The duo combined for 10 of the Clippers’ 15 offensive boards.

    “They [the Clippers] just physically were so strong for us around the basket,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. “We just couldn’t come up with some rebounds.”

    The turning point in the fourth came when Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro countered a small Philadelphia lineup with Paul, Foye, Martin, Evans, and Griffin. It was the first extended stretch of the season for Griffin at small forward and the group responded with arguably one of the most inspired defensive stretches of the season, holding the Sixers without a field goal for the final 5:28 of the fourth quarter.

    The Clippers survived despite shooting 38.8% from the floor, 2-for-19 from 3-point range, and converting only 14 assists.

    Early on, the Sixers defense held the Clippers to just five makes in their first 18 attempts, but Mo Williams, who missed shoot around with a stomach virus, brought L.A. back in the second quarter. After missing his first two shots, Mo Williams knocked down a 3-pointer to cut Philadelphia’s 12-point lead to nine and went on to score 12 consecutive points.

    The run by Mo Williams (14 points in 33 minutes) coincided with the Clippers improving on the defensive end and after Griffin’s step-through dunk around rookie Lavoy Allen and Paul’s layup knifing through the center of the lane, L.A. grabbed a one-point lead.

    It was short-lived, though. Thaddeus Young scored on a well-executed pick and roll and Butler missed an open 3-pointer from the wing and Philadelphia took a 43-41 lead into halftime.


    Paul averages 22 points per game in Clippers wins, just 11 in their eight losses… Former Clipper Elton Brand had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his second game since returning from a strained right thumb… The Clippers committed just seven turnovers.

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