NBA News Wire

Clippers hold off Pacers

LOS ANGELES — Nowhere near peak performance, the Los Angeles Clippers still grinded out a win Wednesday.

Forward Blake Griffin scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and the Clippers held off the Indiana Pacers for a 102-100 victory at Staples Center.

Point guard Chris Paul had 20 points, nine assists, five steals and six rebounds for the Clippers (18-7), who earned their sixth consecutive home win. Los Angeles guard J.J. Redick contributed 16 points and hit three late free throws that were crucial.

“It was tough. We knew that going into the game,” said Paul, who hit seven of his 14 shots from the floor. “They did a good job of making us play at their pace, and we never really got a chance to get a lot of consecutive stops.”

Center DeAndre Jordan, who turned out to be the Clippers’ most reliable stopper, also finished with 15 points and a season-high 23 rebounds.

“Is it too early to start campaigning for Defensive Player of the Year?” Clippers coach Doc Rivers asked, referring to Jordan. “My gosh, what he’s doing every night is unbelievable. And he does it every night, doesn’t ask for the ball, sets picks, rolls, still scores because he’s so active. He’s the perfect guy to have on the team.”

Forward David West and reserve guard C.J. Miles had 17 points apiece to lead the Pacers. Reserve forward Lavoy Allen finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Indiana (8-18) snapped an eight-game skid Monday against the Lakers but fell to 3-10 against Western Conference teams with the defeat two nights later.

“(We) got some tough calls and they made some tough plays,” said West, who also had 10 rebounds. “We weren’t able to make enough plays down the stretch to give ourselves a chance.”

Two free throws by Jordan with 3:34 left gave Los Angeles the lead for good at 94-93, but it took two more foul shots by Redick, lifting the Clippers to a 101-98 advantage, to seal the decision with 15.8 seconds left.

Guard C.J. Watson’s layup pulled Indiana within 101-100 with 3.4 seconds left before Redick hit a free throw with two seconds remaining to cap the scoring. Miles’ 30-foot desperation shot at the buzzer was well short.

“It was us strapping up at the end of the game and getting stops,” Jordan said. “Ultimately, that is what it came down to, us getting stops and executing.”

Paul’s jumper and a free throw by Griffin put the Clippers up 97-93 with 2:35 remaining.

Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey hit a jumper to cut the margin to two, but Griffin answered with a dunk to push the advantage back to four with 1:29 left.

After being fouled by Redick on a 3-point attempt, Watson hit all three free throws to pull the Pacers to within 99-98 with 34.9 seconds remaining. However, after a Clippers turnover, Stuckey missed a turnaround jumper over Redick in the lane that went in and out with 18.9 seconds remaining.

“That’s the game of basketball,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “It was a great look by a great offensive player. We will live with the results. We played the game to get that kind of shot, and we will live with the results.”

Indiana took its biggest lead, 89-83, after a dunk by Miles with 7:44 left. A free throw by Redick after a technical foul on Vogel, a jumper by Griffin and a Paul layup cut the margin to 89-88. However, buckets by Allen and Stuckey pushed the Pacers’ lead to five.

NOTES: Los Angeles PG Chris Paul, who is president of the NBA players’ union, wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt under his leather jacket to the postgame press conference, the first public display by one of the Clippers since NBA players began donning the shirts over the past month. … Clippers F/C Spencer Hawes missed his third consecutive game due to a left knee bruise. … Pacers G George Hill, still sidelined due to a left knee contusion, continued practicing with the team. He could make his season debut during the club’s current three-game road swing, which continues Saturday in Denver and Sunday in Minnesota. … The Clippers play the Nuggets in Denver on Friday. … Indiana’s bench scored a season-high 66 points — 30 of those by reserve G C.J. Miles — in the Pacers’ 103-96 loss to the Clippers on Dec. 10. On Wednesday, Pacers reserves had 42 points.