Griffin’s 36 lead Clippers past Raptors 118-105
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 19 of his 36 points in the first quarter and Jamal Crawford added 21 points, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 118-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in a matchup of division leaders Friday night.
DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the defending Pacific Division champions, who are 12-6 since Chris Paul separated his right shoulder on Jan. 3. Jordan attempted 22 free throws and converted a career-high 10 after entering the game averaging 43.4 percent from the foul line.
The Clippers, coming off a 116-112 loss to the NBA champion Miami Heat on Wednesday, are 4-6 against the other five first-place clubs. They haven’t dropped back-to-back home games in the regular season since Nov. 3-5, 2012, against Golden State and Cleveland.
DeMar DeRozan had 36 points and eight assists for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who concluded their 2-3 road trip with their fourth straight loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. They lead the Brooklyn Nets by three games in the standings.
Terrence Ross, who tied Vince Carter’s single-season franchise record with 51 points in the Raptors’ 126-118 loss to the Clippers on Jan. 25 at Toronto, picked up two fouls in the first quarter and finished with nine points in 28 minutes on 3-for-10 shooting.
Griffin, whose previous two games produced 36 points at Denver and 43 against Miami, capped his dominant opening quarter on a 20-footer with 2.4 seconds on the clock to give the Clippers a 29-22 lead. Crawford, who had 37 points in the previous meeting between the teams, burned the Raptors for 14 points in the second quarter while starting again for the injured J.J. Redick.
Toronto was still within striking distance late in the first half, trailing 58-47 when Griffin picked up his third foul with 2:17 left and went to the bench. But “Lob City” continued without him as Matt Barnes found Jordan above the rim for an alley-oop slam, and Darren Collison followed with a 3-pointer that extended the Clippers’ margin to 65-47 with 43 seconds left in the half.
Amir Johnson hit Griffin in the head with his left arm as the four-time All-Star drove the lane on an attempted slam dunk with 9:50 left in the third quarter. The call was a flagrant 1 foul after referees James Capers, Mark Lindsay and Matt Boland viewed the replay at the scorer’s table, and Griffin converted both free throws for a 75-56 lead.
Less than 3 minutes later, Jordan blocked a short jumper by Kyle Lowry, leading to a 3-pointer by Matt Barnes that widened the gap to 82-60, the Clippers’ biggest lead of the game. Griffin got his fifth foul and took a seat with 5:16 left in the third, but by then the Clippers had built an 84-66 cushion.
Toronto ended the quarter with a 10-1 spurt, slicing its deficit to 92-83, but they got no closer. Willie Green helped seal the victory with a pair of 3-pointers 1:24 apart. The Clippers were 9 for 24 from behind the arc, improving to 22-0 when making at least nine.
NOTES: Paul was cleared on Thursday to play in Sunday night’s game against Philadelphia, with the 18-32 Lakers serving as the opening act against Chicago in the Staples Center doubleheader. … DeRozan is the first USC player to be selected to play in an All-Star Game since Gus Williams in 1983, when the Lakers hosted the event at the Forum. Ross will be trying to defend his All-Star slam-dunk title on Feb. 15 at New Orleans. … The previous high for points in a quarter by a Raptors opponent this season was 18 by Denver’s Nate Robinson, who did his damage in the fourth period of the Nuggets’ 112-98 victory on Dec. 1. … Griffin, who beat out DeRozan in the 2011 All-Star slam-dunk contest at Staples Center by leaping over the front hood of a car, has 118 through his first 53 games. Jordan leads the league with 146.
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