Paul lifts Clippers over Sixers in final seconds
Philadelphia, PA – Chris Paul hit the game-winning shot with 77, on Friday.
A pair of Lou Williams free throws had Philadelphia up, 77-76, with 18 seconds left, but Paul hit a twisting, fadeaway jumper near the foul line to improve Los Angeles to 3-1 on its current six-game road trip.
Paul finished with a game-high 24, Blake Griffin added 16 and 11 rebounds and Mo Williams scored 14. Former 76er Reggie Evans didn't score, but impacted the contest with 10 rebounds -- five offensive -- in 19 minutes of action.
The Sixers, meanwhile, have dropped two straight for the first time this season. They got 12 points from both Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, who added 10 boards. Lou Williams finished with 11 points.
Caron Butler gave LA a 76-74 lead with a minute to play. Following misses by Iguodala and Paul, Butler fouled Jrue Holiday in the frontcourt with LA in the penalty. Holiday made the first free throw, but missed the second and the Clippers called timeout with 20 seconds left.
Inbounding at half court, Ryan Gomes made an errant pass and Butler fouled Lou Williams while battling for the loose ball under the LA net. Williams made both foul shots, but Paul answered with the game-winner. Williams, double- teamed near mid-court, failed to get a shot off before time expired.
"One thing I pride myself on is ball handling," said Paul. "I may not make every shot but I feel like I can get any shot that I want because of ball handling. I've always been undersized, so one thing I know is that I can create my own shot."
The Sixers concluded a challenging stretch, in which they also faced Orlando, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, the Lakers and San Antonio, with a 4-3 mark. They were up 27-18 after one behind 58.8 percent shooting and seven points from Brand. Lou Williams hit a short jumper to open the second, stretching the lead to double-digits, but the Clippers responded.
It was 33-21 when LA reeled off an 18-5 run to go on top. Mo Williams scored the Clippers' first 12 points of the burst before Griffin threw down an emphatic baseline jam and Paul finished with four straight for a 39-38 lead.
The half ended in back-and-forth fashion and Philadelphia held a 43-41 advantage at the break. Neither team was able to pull away in the third. The Sixers were up 61-54 on a Jodie Meeks three, but the Clippers answered with a 16-2 run between the third and fourth to take a 70-63 lead.
Philadelphia responded with an Iguodala trey and a three-point play from Lou Williams to trigger the tight finish.
"Usually when you play these tough teams in a stretch like we did it usually carries over for a week or two," said Iguodala. "Hopefully it will continue to carry over with the high level that we've been playing at."
The Clippers improved to 7-2 against the Eastern Conference this year. They are 6-5 as the visitor this season and will also travel to Charlotte and Dallas on their current trek...Iguodala was named an Eastern Conference All- Star reserve on Thursday...Griffin and Paul were voted All-Star starters for the Western Conference.