INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Paul scored 29 points, and Blake Griffin finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers hold off Indiana’s late charge for a 99-91 victory Thursday.
The Clippers (42-18) have won three straight and seven of their past eight.
David West led the Pacers (36-22) with 22 points, while All-Star Paul George had 20 points and five assists. Danny Granger finished with a season-high 12 points.
But without the suspended Roy Hibbert, the Pacers barely resembled the team that had won five straight by an average margin of 23.8 points.
Instead, Indiana had the lead only once in the first half and only three times in the third quarter – never by more than two points.
And each time Indiana appeared to be on the verge of taking control, the Clippers answered the challenge.
In the second quarter, Los Angeles went on a 13-3 spurt that allowed it to dictate the rest of the half. Indiana’s late charge cut the halftime deficit to 49-47.
When Indiana took its first lead of the second half, the Clippers scored five straight and after trading leads three times amid a flurry of dunks shortly after, the Clippers finally took charge with another 13-3 run that gave them a 76-69 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Then the Clippers pulled away.
They started the fourth with yet another 13-3 spurt, which gave the Clippers an 89-72 lead midway through the final quarter against one of the NBA’s best home teams.
But Indiana rallied. Amid a flurry of three-pointers and solid defense, the Pacers charged back with a 13-0 run to close the deficit to 91-87 with 2:45 to play. They did not get any closer.
Jamal Crawford scored 23 points off the bench for Los Angeles and the Clippers forced Indiana into 20 turnovers.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says two investors want to buy the NBA’s Kings and build a downtown arena to stop the proposed move of the city’s only major league sports team to Seattle.
Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness, will make a bid for the team. Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle will solve the city’s other problem and lead a group to build a new downtown arena.