By Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers used a 10-3 run to seize a 10-point halftime advantage then stretched the lead to as much as 31 in the fourth quarter to sail to the 101-72 win over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Facing a Philadelphia squad that finally find some success after a brutal stretch, the Clippers dropped the hammer defensively, holding the 76ers to just 36 percent shooting in the first half and 37 percent overall. Los Angeles also forced 19 turnovers while maintaining a 43-37 rebounding advantage.
After a middling first quarter that finished tied at 20 and in which both teams shot worse than 37 percent, the Clippers took control in the second quarter. Los Angeles shot 60 percent from the field in the second quarter, held the 76ers to 29 percent and the Clippers' bench outscored Philadelphia's 16-6 in a dominant stretch.
Chris Paul led a balanced Los Angeles effort with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds and five steals and made up for a poor night from Blake Griffin. Griffin managed just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds and Caron Butler added 14 points and six rebounds. In placed of the injured Chauncey Billups, Willie Green had 14 points for Los Angeles and Jamal Crawford led the Los Angeles bench with 12 points.
Spencer Hawes led Philadelphia with 16 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four blocks. Thaddeus Young added 13 points and eight rebounds but point guard Jrue Holiday faltered in his matchup with Paul, scoring just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
NOTES: With Billups listed as questionable due to a right groin strain, Willie Green started at shooting guard for the Clippers. Eric Bledsoe (sore left calf) and Ronny Turiaf (sore right knee) missed the game for Los Angeles. ... Philadelphia's Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson (knee) remain out. Bynum had season-ending surgery on both knees Tuesday. ... The Clippers won the first matchup between the teams, 107-90, on Feb. 11 in Philadelphia, despite a game-high 29 points by Nick Young. Paul had 12 points, 11 assists and five steals in the win, becoming the first player since 1985-86 to put up such numbers in less than 25 minutes of action. ... The 76ers entered the game on a 3-1 run after losing 12 of 13 games. ... Los Angeles is narrowing in on several team records in what has become the team's most prolific regular season. While already owning team records for consecutive wins (17), consecutive home wins (13) and wins in a month (16), the Clippers are seeking single-season records for wins, road wins and home wins. ... Los Angeles' second-best start through 68 games was 42 wins in 1974-75. ... Hawes, who became just the fourth player in NBA history to register 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks in the 76ers' 98-91 win over Indiana on March 16, had seven points, five rebounds and two assists in nine first-quarter minutes Wednesday. ... The Clippers entered the game with a league-best 35-2 record when leading after one quarter.