Griffin Leads Clippers Past Cavs For 11th Straight Victory
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin had 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists on his 25th birthday, and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-80 Sunday night for their 11th consecutive victory.
Chris Paul had 15 assists and scored 11 of his 16 points in the final 6:04 for the Clippers, who haven’t lost since Feb. 21.
Los Angeles matched the longest winning streak in the NBA this season, equaling 11-game runs in November by Portland and San Antonio.
Luol Deng scored 23 points and Dion Waiters had 15 for the Cavaliers, who lost Kyrie Irving in the first quarter to a left biceps injury. Cleveland had won on its first two stops of a three-game West Coast road trip, but never led against the Clippers.
Reggie Bullock scored a career-high 14 points on his 23rd birthday as Los Angeles matched the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the second-longest winning streak in franchise history.
DeAndre Jordan added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who won 17 straight games during their unbeaten run through December 2012.
Griffin threw himself quite a party with yet another dynamic game on both ends of the court. He has scored at least 20 points in 26 consecutive games, a mark exceeded only by Kevin Durant this season.
The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Griffin during a dead ball in the second quarter, and he gave a sheepish grin and a wave while waiting to inbound the ball.
Jarrett Jack scored seven straight points during a 12-0 Cleveland run early in the fourth quarter, trimming the Clippers’ former 21-point lead to seven. But Paul shook off a rough shooting night with three jumpers in quick succession, and the Clippers closed out their sixth straight home victory.
Irving, Cleveland’s leader in scoring and assists, went to the Cavs’ locker room late in the first quarter and didn’t return. The All-Star Game MVP missed all five of his shots against the Clippers and was injured shortly before he left the game.
The Clippers were short-handed as well: Jamal Crawford missed his fourth straight game with a strained left calf, and fill-in starter Darren Collison was ruled out 15 minutes before tipoff with a stomach virus. Los Angeles already is without J.J. Redick, who hasn’t played since early February.
Los Angeles scored the game’s first 11 points and jumped out to a 17-3 lead just 6 minutes in when Cleveland missed nine of its first 10 shots. Deng kept it close with 12 first-half points, but the Clippers’ remaining bench players came up big, with Bullock and Danny Granger scoring nine points apiece.
Griffin even scored while Spencer Hawes flagrantly fouled him in the final minute of the first half, muscling the ball home in a remarkable display of strength. His three-point play put the Clippers up 52-38 at halftime.
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