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Clippers hold off Pacers in clash of leaders




INDIANAPOLIS — The Los Angeles Clippers held off Indiana’s late charge to beat the Pacers 99-91 in Thursday’s clash of NBA divisional leaders and win their seventh game out of eight.

Chris Paul scored 29 points and Blake Griffin finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who pushed their lead in the Pacific Division to eight games.

In the day’s other games, Chicago beat Philadelphia to move within three games of Indiana atop the Central Division, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Minnesota for the 21st time in a row.

Indiana’s David West had 22 points, while All-Star Paul George had 20 points and five assists. 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.

Chicago’s Joakim Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks for his third career triple-double as the Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-82.

Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Bulls completed a three-game regular season series sweep.

Noah tied the Bulls record for blocks in a regulation game, previously set by Artis Gilmore in 1977.

Jrue Holiday had 22 points for the Sixers, who slumped to a season-worst seventh-straight loss.

The Los Angeles Lakers cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-94, with Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Antawn Jamison added 17.

Bryant and Jodie Meeks each hit four of 16 3-pointers for the Lakers, who moved within two games of Houston for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

J.J. Barea scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost 20 of 24.

Los Angeles’ 21-game mastery of Minnesota — dating back six years — is the NBA’s longest active winning streak in any matchup.


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