Paul leads Clippers past Pistons in OT

AP News
Posted: Mar 18, 2012 6:52 PM
Paul leads Clippers past Pistons in OT

Chris Paul scored nine of his 19 points in overtime and added a season-high 15 assists, carrying the Los Angeles Clippers to an 87-83 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Blake Griffin had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and he tipped in Paul's missed layup with 19 seconds left in regulation before Paul swiped the ball from Tayshaun Prince to send it to overtime.

After hitting two long jumpers early in overtime, Paul capped a dominant performance by grabbing control of a jump-ball tip and getting it to Randy Foye for a layup with 7 seconds left. He added two free throws with 3.4 seconds left as Los Angeles finished 3-3 in a stretch of six home games in eight days.

Greg Monroe scored six of his 23 points in overtime and added 15 rebounds for Detroit, which dropped to 1-3 on its five-game Western Conference road trip. Prince scored 20 points for the Pistons, who went 3 for 16 in the fourth quarter while blowing a late nine-point lead.

Los Angeles jumped to a five-point overtime lead on two long jumpers by Paul, but Monroe's two free throws put Detroit ahead 82-81 with 31.8 seconds left. Paul nailed an elbow jumper to put the Clippers back in the lead before hitting Foye for a fast-break layup off a jump ball on Los Angeles' end.

After Ben Gordon hit one of two free throws, Paul coolly made two free throws to seal it.

New acquisition Nick Young scored nine points and played most of the late minutes in his debut with Los Angeles, which hadn't won consecutive games since Feb. 15-16.

Jonas Jerebko had 14 points for the Pistons, who nursed a small lead throughout the fourth quarter of the teams' only meeting this season.

Prince failed to score on two chances in the final 26 seconds of regulation, while Rodney Stuckey scored seven points on 1-of-8 shooting and appeared visibly frustrated, sitting out most of the overtime period. He failed to lead the Pistons in scoring for just the second time in their last nine games.

After a strong start to Paul's first season in Los Angeles, the realities of the NBA's onerous schedule are hitting the Clippers. They've fallen behind the Lakers atop the Pacific Division during a preposterous stretch of nine games in 12 days, and the Clippers don't get consecutive days off again until April 20-21, less than a week before the regular season ends.

The Clippers appeared headed to their fourth home loss in five games Saturday before Paul led a rally from a late deficit to beat Houston. Los Angeles instead ended up with two tight victories.

Young, a Los Angeles native and USC product, wore No. 11 in his first game since arriving in a trade with Washington. The Clippers could use offense after losing Chauncey Billups for the season to a torn Achilles' tendon, and Young immediately got started on his new job by making an off-balance 20-footer shortly after checking in to start the second quarter.

Los Angeles trailed by 10 points late in the third quarter and 69-60 with 7 minutes left despite Detroit's 0-for-7 start to the fourth quarter. The Clippers finally awoke for a 9-1 run, missing several opportunities to take the lead while Detroit managed only one field goal in the final 7:03.

After Griffin's tying tip-in, Prince couldn't even get a shot on an isolation play, bobbling the ball and losing it to Paul.

NOTES: Both teams struggled at the 3-point line, with Los Angeles going 4 for 20 and Detroit going 2 for 16. ... The Clippers' schedule gets no easier. They'll leave town Monday for three road games in three nights at Indiana, Oklahoma City and New Orleans before returning for yet another home game Saturday. ... Detroit gets the next two days off before concluding its road trip at Denver.