Clippers rally for 40th win of season

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 23, 2012
Chris Paul had 33 points and 13 assists, Randy Foye hit three of his six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied for a 107-98 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night to move within a half-game of the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Foye scored 24 points, and Blake Griffin had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Clippers' 40th victory -- their most since the 2006-07 team won that many. Paul made 17 of 19 free throws, while Griffin hit 7 of 9. Eric Gordon scored 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 14 against their former team. They were part of the trade that sent Paul to the Clippers before the season. Gordon was playing against his former team for the first time, having missed most of the season after right knee surgery. Jason Smith added 13 points while getting booed whenever he scored by Clippers fans still angry over his flagrant foul on Griffin last month. The two were facing each other for the first time since Smith was ejected and suspended two games. Mo Williams was called for a flagrant 1 foul on Gordon in the second quarter of a game bogged down by 58 fouls between the teams. The win didn't come easy against the West's worst team. The Clippers blew an 11-point lead in the first quarter and fell behind by 13 in the fourth before eventually winning their second in a row and 11th of their last 12 at home. After Griffin's technical for complaining about a foul call, Foye hit back-to-back 3-pointers to draw the Clippers to 91-90 with 4:05 remaining. Foye got fouled and made both free throws, again cutting the Clippers' deficit to one. Paul was fouled by Greivis Vasquez on a 3-point attempt, and he made all three accompanied by chants of ''MVP! MVP!'' to put the Clippers ahead 95-93. Gordon turned the ball over and Griffin responded with a two-handed dunk for a 100-95 lead as the Clippers went on to put it away. Gordon, Aminu and Marco Belinelli combined on three straight turnovers to end the game. The Hornets dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers 32-17 in taking their first lead since the start of the game. Aminu had 12 points in the period against the team that drafted him two years ago. Paul scored 11 of the Clippers' 17 points and they trailed by 10 going into the fourth. Foye hit three 3-pointers in the first. The Hornets began catching up with a 12-6 run that ended the quarter with them trailing 32-27. NOTES: Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro suggested Phoenix C Robin Lopez should have been suspended for his flagrant 2 foul on Griffin last Thursday. He said Griffin is still in pain after Lopez hooked him by the neck on a breakaway layup attempt. ''To me it doesn't make a lot of sense when a player gets a flagrant 2 and he's able to play and the other player is still in pain,'' Del Negro said before the game. ''To me what makes sense is that player doesn't play until that player is healthy and playing. ... The league needs to step up and do something in terms of making a statement, not just for Blake but for any player.'' ... Clippers F Caron Butler didn't return after sustaining a left hip contusion late in the first quarter. ... Clippers G Nick Young missed the game because of flulike symptoms. ... Clippers F Reggie Evans returned after missing two games with the flu. ... Center DeAndre Jordan and Butler addressed the crowd before the game, thanking them for their support. ''We'll see you guys in the playoffs,'' Jordan said to cheers.
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