NBA: Clippers beat Lakers to clinch division title
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Clippers clinched their first division title in their 42-year history with a 109-95 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers behind a 24 point, 12 assist effort from Chris Paul on Sunday.
Blake Griffin finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers who ended the Lakers’ five-year run atop the Pacific Division standings.
“We did a tremendous job of starting the second half. This is my first division win, but we kind of had the mind set that this was what we’re supposed to do,” Griffin said.
The Clippers also swept the season series against the rival Lakers for the first time since 1974-75 when they were known as the Buffalo Braves.
Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 20 points for the Clippers at Staples Center arena.
Kobe Bryant had 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who are in a fight with the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers have five games left, four of them at the Staples Center.
“Give them credit, they hit big shots, they played well. They’re very athletic, they’re long and they’re good. They were quicker to the ball than we were,” Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Dwight Howard finished with 25 points as the Lakers had their modest three-game winning streak halted.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Bobcats are the only teams in National Basketball Association history to not win a division championship.