LOS ANGELES — Point guard Chris Paul is focusing on winning a ring instead of reveling in personal achievements.
Paul, who topped 6,000 career assists in the first quarter, had 28 points, 15 assists and a season-high six steals, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 112-103 victory over the struggling Detroit Pistons on Saturday night at the Staples Center.
“It’s cool; it’s a honor,” said Paul, who hit 10 of 15 shots from the field and had just two turnovers in 37 minutes. “But I think I’m one of those people who is always like what would be like if I wasn’t hurt all of the time. I think that’s the toughest part.
“I think I’ll definitely look back on it later. I don’t know what that means in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t even know that I had 6,000 tonight. I think I’m focused on winning games and not really the individual achievements.”
Forward Blake Griffin added 25 points and seven rebounds for the Clippers (49-21), winners of 12 of their last 13 games. They handed Detroit its fifth straight loss and eighth in the past nine games. The Pistons (25-44) also have dropped 13 in a row on the road.
Griffin, who connected on 12 of 17 shots from the field, scored at least 20 points for the 28th consecutive game.
Forwards Matt Barnes and Danny Granger, who had a four-point play in the fourth quarter, scored 14 points apiece for Los Angeles. Center DeAndre Jordan finished with 12 rebounds and five blocks to go along with nine points.
The Clippers, who had a four-day break, bounced back after having their 11-game winning streak snapped by the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
“We just knew we needed to come back in and try to get another streak started,” Paul said. “We didn’t come out flat. I think we did alright.”
The Clippers took control in the third, opening the quarter with 20-6 run for a 76-61 lead after a dunk by Griffin with 3:20 left. They outscored Detroit 24-15 for an 80-70 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The Pistons sliced Los Angeles’ lead to six late in the game, but the Clippers held them off.
“In the first half, I thought we were sketchy, but in the third quarter, I thought (the defense) was phenomenal,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought we turned it on. I was worried about this game. When you take four days off, you’re going to be sloppy and late on a lot of stuff.”
The Pistons outscored the Clippers 29-20 in the second quarter to cut Los Angeles’ lead to 56-55 at intermission.
Both teams shot well in the first half, with the Clippers hitting 54.8 percent (23 of 42) from the field compared with 51.1 percent (24 of 47) for Detroit. Overall, the Clippers shot 54.2 percent (45 of 83) to 45.2 percent (42 of 93) for the Pistons.
But the second-quarter lull by Los Angeles did not go over well with its coaching staff.
“The coaches gave us the right talking-to in the locker room and I think we responded the right way,” Griffin said.
Reserve forward Jonas Jerebko led the Pistons with 22 points. Point guard Brandon Jennings, who topped 6,000 career points in the third quarter, had 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Center Andre Drummond finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
“It’s tough to lose the game, so I can’t be too happy about I saw the ball go through the rim a couple of times,” said Jerebko, who converted 8 of 12 shots, including 5 of 7 3-pointers, and also had nine rebounds. “It made the game come a lot easier to me.”
NOTES: The Clippers had a 25-9 edge in fast-break points. … Clippers G J.J. Redick is “working his way” back after two productive practices this week, coach Doc Rivers said. There is no timetable for the return of Redick, who has missed 19 consecutive games with a bulging disc in his back. … Los Angeles F Blake Griffin led the league with the most fouls drawn (516) entering the game, well ahead of Houston’s Dwight Howard (449) and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins (448). … Detroit ranked first in the league in points in the paint at 52.6 points per game entering Saturday night. … Former Detroit Pistons star Isaiah Thomas sat courtside for the game. … The Pistons conclude their four-game road trip on Monday against the Utah Jazz before hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. … Los Angeles hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
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