Griffin, Butler Lead Clippers Past 102-84 To Extend Pacific Lead
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Caron Butler added 21 points and Randy Foye scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter against his former team, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 102-84 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Five players scored in double digits for the Clippers, who increased their lead in the Pacific Division to two games over the idle Lakers with their ninth victory in 12 contests.
The Clippers took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter before John Wall cut it to 75-72 on a 16-footer with 10:12 remaining. But Foye, starting at shooting guard because of Chauncey Billups’ season-ending Achilles injury, completely took during the next 3 1/2 minutes.
The six-year veteran, who spent the 2009-10 season with the Wizards before signing with the Clippers as a free agent in July 2010, started his one-man assault with a 3-pointer, then made two free throws and hustled after an offensive rebound to set up another 3 by Mo Williams. Foye made two more free throws and capped his run with a 3-pointer that made it 88-76 with 6:59 to play. From then on, it was no contest.
The Clippers, who began their 4-2 Grammy trip at Washington with a 107-81 victory, have beaten the Wizards seven consecutive times — including a double-overtime win last March at Staples Center in which Griffin had 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in a career-high 51 1/2 minutes for his first NBA triple-double. The Clippers’ longest winning streak against any club is 11, against Dallas from 1992 through 1994.
Wall and JaVale McGee led Washington with 18 points each. The Wizards, coming off their second straight road win after an 0-10 start, weren’t able to sustain their momentum following Tuesday night’s 124-109 victory at Portland. Former USC guard Nick Young, perhaps a bit distracted with his alma mater playing against UCLA just a few miles down Figueroa Street at the Sports Arena, missed his first nine shots and finished 5 for 18 with 14 points after getting a season-high 35 against the Trail Blazers.
Young ended his field goal drought with a 3-pointer that trimmed the Clippers’ lead to 56-55 with 7:19 left in the third quarter and made two more from behind the arc in a 1:19 span to put Washington back in front 60-58 with 5:57 left in the period.
Rookie forward Jan Vesely, the first player off the Wizards’ bench, threw down an uncontested dunk that gave the Wizards a 62-60 edge with 5:07 left in the third. But he returned to the bench 15 seconds later after picking up his fifth foul, and Griffin gave the Clippers the lead for good with a back-to-back dunks to make it 70-66. The first came after his offensive rebound of Foye’s missed 3-pointer, the other off an alley-oop lob by Paul with 2:47 left in the quarter.
Notes: Howard Eisley, a player development assistant with the Clippers who sits right behind their bench during games, was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for verbal abuse of an official. The incident took place at the end of the Monday’s 96-92 loss at Dallas. “It was kind of unexpected, but the league felt it was warranted — and the rules are strict,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “The league has to do what they feel is in their best interests. Obviously, we totally support Howard as a staff and as an organization. Referees are going to make poor calls at times, and they’re going to miss calls, but you have to be able to control your emotions — especially with all the tight games that you have — because that one point can be the difference between losing or winning a game. I mean, sometimes guys are going to lose it in different situations. And with some referees, you have to know their personalities. Some guys have quicker triggers than others, so learning the referees and knowing who’s running the game, I think, is probably as important as anything. And we talk about those things. But sometimes it’s hard.” … Paul received a technical foul with 1:59 left in the second quarter, the 32nd called against Clippers players and coaches this season. They have yet to have anyone ejected from a game with two, but Paul came close 39 seconds later after fouling Wall. … The game featured the first overall pick in three drafts: Griffin (2009), Wall (2010) and Kenyon Martin (2000). Martin made his home debut with the Clippers, playing 23 minutes and getting four points and four rebounds in his fifth game with the club after signing as a free agent Feb. 3. … Wall is just 2 for 18 from 3-point range, after shooting 29.6 percent from behind the arc last season as a rookie (34 for 115).