LOS ANGELES (AP) — DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Chris Paul added 14 points and 12 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the Phoenix Suns 126-101 on Wednesday night for their franchise-record 50th win.
Willie Green and Caron Butler scored 15 points each, and Blake Griffin had nine points, seven assists and five rebounds to help the Clippers end a three-game skid with their second-highest scoring total of the season. They improved to 50-26 overall, bettering the single-season record for wins set in 1974-75 when the team was in Buffalo. They’re 29-9 at home.
The Clippers needed to win and have Golden State lose to New Orleans to clinch the franchise’s first division title. But the Warriors won 98-88, postponing another first by this Clippers team.
Wesley Johnson scored 20 points and Jermaine O’Neal added 18 for the last-place Suns, who have lost seven straight overall, 13 of their last 15, and six in a row on the road. Goran Dragic, who didn’t score his first basket until the start of the third quarter, finished with 12.
That’s when the Clippers pulled away, outscoring the Suns 38-20 to lead 95-70 going into the fourth. Jordan’s teammates set him up for three high-flying dunks, while Griffin and Paul got ones of their own in, too. Griffin and Phoenix teammates P.J. Tucker and O’Neal had to be separated at one point after they tangled with Griffin while double-teaming him.
The bad blood didn’t stop there.
With 8:57 left in the game and the Clippers starters on the bench, Jamal Crawford hit a 3-pointer and Ryan Hollins put his left arm around Dragic’s neck as they scrambled for position under the basket. Their momentum carried them over to the Suns’ bench, where Hollins shoved Dragic and Michael Beasley shouted at Hollins as tempers flared on both sides.
Lamar Odom pulled on Hollins’ jersey to get him away. After the referees reviewed the play, Hollins was called for a flagrant foul and ejected, while Beasley received a technical.
In the first quarter, Griffin and Tucker received double technicals.
The Clippers dominated the paint, 72-32, and had a 25-11 edge in fast break points.
Los Angeles opened the game on a 15-0 run for its largest lead of the half. The Suns twice got within two points on baskets by Beasley, but the Clippers used a 10-5 spurt, including six free throws by Paul, to lead 57-50 at the break.
NOTES: The Clippers, Memphis and Charlotte are the only teams in NBA history that have yet to win a division crown. … Clippers G Chauncey Billups missed his fourth straight game with a strained right groin. … The Suns play four of their final seven games on the road, where they are 7-30. .. The Clippers won the season series, 3-1. … Crawford has made 33 straight free throws since Feb. 23. He set the franchise record of 58 in a row earlier this season.