NBA: Clippers clinch title, sweep Lakers; Knicks capture 12th straight

2013-04-08T00:00:00Z NBA: Clippers clinch title, sweep Lakers; Knicks capture 12th straightThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LOS ANGELES - Blake Griffin had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers 109-95 on Sunday to clinch their first Pacific Division title in franchise history against a team that has long overshadowed them.

Chris Paul added 24 points and 12 assists in helping the Clippers sweep the Lakers 4-0 for the first time since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981. The 1974-75 team, known as the Buffalo Braves, had the franchise's only other sweep of the Lakers.

Fans chanted, "Sweep! Sweep!" in the closing seconds. The Clippers knew that even if they lost, they could have clinched later if Utah won at Golden State. The Jazz did prevail 97-90.

"We didn't want to do it that way," Paul said. "We wanted to clinch on our own terms."

Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant each had 25 points for the Lakers, fell a half-game behind Utah for the West's eighth and final playoff spot.

• Knicks 125, Thunder 120: In Oklahoma City, Carmelo Anthony had 36 points and 12 rebounds, J.R. Smith hit a pair of shot-clock beaters in the final 2 1/2 minutes and New York beat the Thunder for its 12th straight win.

The Knicks registered their first 50-win season in 13 years. Russell Westbrook had 37 points for the Thunder. Kevin Durant scored 27, falling behind Anthony in the NBA scoring race.

• Jazz 97, Warriors 90: In Oakland, Calif., Mo Williams scored 25 points, Al Jefferson added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Utah regained the West's final playoff spot.

Williams made a three-pointer with 13.4 seconds left to put Utah ahead by six and spoil Golden State's shot to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2007 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596.

• Hornets 95, Suns 92: In Phoenix, Anthony Davis scored 20 points, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson added 17 apiece and New Orleans handed the Suns their franchise-record seventh straight home loss.

Luis Scola scored 17 for the Suns, losers of a season-worst nine straight overall and 15 of their last 17.

• Mavericks 96, Trail Blazers 91: In Portland, Ore., Chris Kaman scored a season-high 26 points and Dallas boosted its faint playoff hopes with a win. The Mavs are 2 1/2 games back of Utah for the No. 8 spot, but four of their final five games are at home.

• Celtics 107, Wizards 96: In Boston, Brandon Bass scored 20 points and the Celtics, helped by the return of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from ankle injuries, beat Washington. Garnett had 12 points and six rebounds, while Pierce had 15 points.

• Pistons 99, Bulls 85: In Auburn Hills, Mich., Brandon Knight scored 20 points to help Detroit snap an 18-game losing streak against Chicago. Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who are fighting to secure the fourth seed in the East.

• Grizzlies 89, Kings 87: In Sacramento, Calif., Mike Conley scored 25 points, making the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds left as Memphis secured a four-game sweep of the Kings for the first time in franchise history.

Rim shots

• Marty Blake, the NBA's longtime director of scouting, died Sunday in Alpharetta, Ga. He was 86. Blake worked in the NBA for more than 50 years and was considered the "Godfather of scouting." A cause of death was not provided.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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