FINAL | March 20, 2013 | STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA

Clippers

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ERIC PATTEN

LOS ANGELES – It took about a quarter and a half, but the Clippers successfully bounced back from their disappointing loss a night earlier in Sacramento.

They snatched a 10-point halftime lead and blew the game open in the second half to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 101-72, at Staples Center Wednesday.

The win moves the Clippers (47-22) into a tie with the Denver Nuggets for the fourth best record in the Western Conference and mere percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies for third. They are also three victories away from the first 50-win season in franchise history.

Chris Paul, who missed eight of his 10 shots in Sacramento, scored 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds and five steals. Willie Green had 13 points starting in place of Chauncey Billups, who missed the game with a strained right groin. And Caron Butler scored 14 points with six rebounds.

“I thought it was a good win, especially after a tough loss like last night,” said Jamal Crawford, who had a dozen points and three assists off the bench. “You can’t get on the court quick enough and I think that we did a good job from start to finish. Well, they did start off pretty hot and from that point on we did a good job of not letting up.”

The 76ers (26-41) jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the early going, and it appeared somewhat of an extension of Tuesday night’s fourth quarter, when the Kings outscored the Clippers, 38-15, over the final 10:49. But the Clippers rallied quickly, scoring eight of the next 10 points, including a dunk by Butler over a late-rotating Spencer Hawes.

All five starters scored in the first period and the Clippers got at least one field goal from each of the 11 players who appeared in the game.

“That’s the whole idea, for everyone to contribute,” Blake Griffin said. “Some nights some guys might not be scoring as much, but if you can contribute one way or another that’s the whole goal and I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”

Griffin was a prime example of that. He scored seven points, but contributed nine rebounds and six assists, including four in the opening six minutes of the third quarter when the Clippers extended a 10-point lead to 20.

It was also a bounce back game for the Clippers bench, which had been outscored in each of the last three games with Crawford hobbled by an ankle injury, Eric Bledsoe remaining out with a sore calf and a variety of other players shuffling in and out of the lineup. On Wednesday, the group was led by rookie Maalik Wayns, who had nine points and made both of his 3-pointers, and Ryan Hollins’ 10 points and six rebounds.

“It’s a perfect situation for me,” Wayns said of the fast-paced second unit. “That’s the way I play and that’s what I thrive in and I’m able to do it with those guys.”

A night after allowing 116 points, the Clippers defense re-emerged against a Sixers team that had won three of its last four coming in. Philadelphia shot 36.7%, went 6-for-20 from 3-point range, committed 20 turnovers and had just three players in double figures. The 72 points was a season-low for a Clippers opponent.

“Our defense tonight is what led us,” Paul said. “That’s the only way we’ve got a chance going into the postseason if our defense is right.”

NOTES

Former Clipper Nick Young played 8:54 and scored six points… The Clippers are 26-0 when holding opponents to 42.0% shooting or worse… They held a 17-8 advantage in fast-break points… Prior to the game, Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said he hopes Billups and Bledsoe could play this weekend against Brooklyn, but he will know more after practice Friday… DaJuan Summers scored two points with two rebounds and one assist in 6:00. It was his first extended playing time with the Clippers since signing a 10-day contract Saturday… 


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