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Clippers 103, Suns 77

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Clippers' five-year drought in the desert was no match for their franchise-record winning streak -- one that is now almost a month old.

Blake Griffin collected 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 17 points and 13 assists as the Clippers easily handled the Phoenix Suns for the second time in 15 days. The 103-77 decision Sunday night was Los Angeles' 13th consecutive win -- the longest run in the NBA this season and the longest in Clippers history.

Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes combined for 37 points on 13-for-19 shooting off the bench for the Clippers, who set another franchise record with their sixth straight road win. The old mark was established by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.

Now 12-0 in December, the Clippers haven't lost since Nov. 26, and they have beaten the Suns twice during their streak, including a 117-99 victory Dec. 8 in Los Angeles.

Sunday's win snapped a string of 10 straight Clippers losses in Phoenix, where their previous win was April 17, 2007.

The Clippers broke open a tight and very physical game late in the first half, outscoring the Suns 11-1 in the final 3:31 -- a stint that included the ejection of Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry. Los Angeles iced the game with a 33-point third quarter, taking a 31-point lead to the final 12 minutes.

Jared Dudley had 19 points to lead the Suns, who matched a season low for points. Phoenix, playing without Michael Beasley (illness), lost for the second time in as many nights following a season-best, four-game winning streak.

Gentry was concerned about the Clippers' bench before the game, and the visitors showed why. Behind 14 points from Crawford and nine from Barnes, the Los Angeles reserves outscored Phoenix's backups 28-8 in the first half to push Los Angeles in the lead to stay. With the still Suns close at 47-42 with less than four minutes left in the half, Crawford and Barnes teamed with Griffin and Paul to take over the game.

Two free throws and a put-back dunk from Barnes preceded a Crawford 3-pointer before referee Rodney Mott tossed Gentry on two quick technical fouls with 2:33 left in the second quarter. Two Paul bank shots and Griffin steal-and-dunk later, and the Clippers were up by 16. Los Angeles carried a 58-43 lead to halftime.

NOTES: Beasley played 10 minutes in Saturday's loss at Portland before sitting out Sunday. He is averaging 10.5 points a game, and he lost his starting job to Dudley the last time the Suns and Clippers met. ... The Clippers lead the NBA in turnovers forced (17.5) and points off turnovers (22.1). "We want to use that to our advantage, but we also have to know time and score and when to be solid," coach Vinny Del Negro said. ... The Suns had eight of their first 27 games decided by three points or fewer, and they came out even in them (4-4). Meanwhile, the Clippers had just one of their 26 games decided by three points or fewer (they won it). They have won 14 times by double digits, tops in the NBA. ... Former Sun Grant Hill is two to three weeks away from making his debut with the Clippers. A bone bruise to the right knee has kept the 40-year-old out all season.
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