LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers expected theyd be better once Chris Paul returned to the lineup. They just probably couldnt have imagined how much. Blake Griffin had 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists Sunday night as Los Angeles stormed out to a 31-point lead in the first quarter with its All-Star point guard back on the court and pummeled the Philadelphia 76ers 123-78. "It felt great just to play. You never know what its going to be like until you actually get out there and compete," Paul said. "A lot of things go through your mind out there, especially when you come back because you want to make sure youre not too tired and not trying too hard. But at the same time, weve been playing extremely well and I didnt want to break up our rhythm." Jamal Crawford scored 21 for the defending Pacific Division champions, who were 12-6 while Paul was sidelined with a right shoulder he separated Jan. 3 at Dallas. The seven-time All-Star point guard showed no signs of rust, getting seven points and eight assists in 23 minutes. "He set the tone," Crawford said. "The energy from when he was introduced, to the level of play that he brings, it makes everybody better." DeAndre Jordan had 20 rebounds and 10 points, helping Los Angeles increase its division lead over idle Phoenix to four games. The 45-point margin of victory was the largest for the Clippers franchise. The previous record was 39, set in a 121-82 win over Chicago on Nov. 24 at Staples Center. "Thats an intense, defensive-oriented athletic type of team. We ran into a buzz saw and we got jumped early," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "What an incredible opportunity for a young point guard like Michael Carter-Williams to see Chris Paul play and to play against him." Carter-Williams, who leads all rookies in scoring, rebounding and assists per game, finished with 14 points, five assists and seven boards in 34 1/2 minutes. Tony Wroten scored 21 points off the bench for the 76ers, losers of six straight and 13 of 16. Center Spencer Hawes missed all eight shots in 23 scoreless minutes and had just two rebounds. Pauls return provided an instant spark, as the Clippers opened the game with a 13-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Crawford off Philadelphia turnovers. They widened the gap to 30-5 while the 76ers missed 17 of their first 19 shots. Griffin limped to the dressing room with a bruised left shin after Wroten fell into him on a foul by Jordan with less 3 minutes left in the opening period. But the four-time All-Star returned to the bench before the teams highest-scoring quarter of the season ended, and Willie Green put an exclamation point on it with a 3 from the left corner to give Los Angeles a 46-15 cushion. Griffin and teammate Antawn Jamison shared a laugh on the bench as Wroten went to the foul line, trying to cut into a 54-17 deficit about 3 minutes into the second quarter. By then, it hardly seemed to matter to the sellout crowd that Clippers starting forward J.J. Redick missed his third straight game with a sore right hip. It was a laugher the whole way. "Our defence really set the tone," Crawford said. "When were covering for each other like that and playing together, it makes it tough on other teams and kind of breaks their rhythm." Griffin showed no hint of any ankle issues after his mishap -- particularly during a Showtime-like sequence in the second quarter. Paul went in alone on a fast break with Griffin trailing the play, then bounced the ball off the glass and Griffin sent the crowd into a frenzy with the first of back-to-back windmill dunks 27 seconds apart. That made it 60-21 with 4:46 left in the first half. "I think our guys have tried that in a one-point game. Thats the problem," coach Doc Rivers said. "But thats who they are, and I dont want to take the joy away -- as long as theres no turnovers with it." Philadelphia never challenged after the Clippers built a 69-30 halftime lead. Crawfords 15-footer gave them their biggest margin, 89-33, with 6:01 left in the third quarter. It was 100-51 going into the fourth. Before Sunday, the Clippers had never beaten Philadelphia by more than 29 points since the franchises first played in 1970-71. NOTES: The Clippers shot 56.2 per cent and the Sixers 27.0 -- going 3 for 28 from 3-point range. ... The Clippers are 10-1 against teams that are currently in last place in their respective divisions. The only blemish was a 98-80 loss at Orlando on Nov. 6. Basketball Jerseys China
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. TSNs Farhan Lalji reports the Edmonton Eskimos non-import DT has a workout scheduled with an NFL team next week and isnt expected to sign a deal with any team until then. SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With Kevin Durant on the bench to start the fourth quarter, his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates put together a run that helped end one of the most impressive scoring streaks in NBA history. And Durant says nobody is happier its over than him. Caron Butler made all six of his 3-point attempts to finish with 23 points, and the Thunder began the fourth quarter on a 16-0 spurt to pull away for a 107-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Durant finished with 23 points but was never needed in the final quarter, stopping his streak of scoring at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games. Only Oscar Robertson (46 straight games in 1963-64) and Wilt Chamberlain (all 80 regular-season games in the 1961-62 season) have longer such streaks. "I was getting so many texts after every game. Im glad thats over with and we can just focus on the team," said Durant, who shot 8 for 13 in 31 minutes. "If we played well and I had 25 points, that took away from how well the team was playing, so I didnt like that. If we lost, it was all about me scoring 25 points and I didnt like that either. Im glad we can just talk about the team now." Coming off losses at Memphis and Phoenix, Oklahoma City certainly has plenty of bigger things to play for during the seasons final two weeks. Serge Ibaka added 19 points and four rebounds for the Thunder, who rested Russell Westbrook ahead of Wednesday nights game at the Los Angeles Clippers. Oklahoma City (56-21) is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers (55-23) for the Western Conferences No. 2 playoff seed. Even still, Durant said he was aware of how many points he had but never thought of asking coach Scott Brooks to go back in the game. Brooks insisted it never crossed his mind, either, saying the most impressive thing about Durants streak is that he didnt even realize it ended because Durant has been the "trademark for consistency." "Hes about team," Brooks said. "If he wasnt, he would have played golf and tried to chase (Jack) Nicklaus record of 18 majors." DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Travis Outlaw scored 24 points in Sacramentos third straight loss. Even with three regulars out with injuries, the Kings made the Thunder work through the first three quarters. Oklahoma City buuilt double-digits leads throughout the game only to watch Sacramento surge back each time.dddddddddddd. But with Durant on the bench to open the fourth, the Thunder finally created a lead big enough to stick. The Thunder held Sacramento scoreless for nearly 6 minutes to go ahead 101-77. "We had some guys that played with no energy," frustrated Kings coach Michael Malone said. "It looked they didnt even want to be out there, to be honest." With the matchup in Los Angeles looming large, Brooks decided to rest Westbrook -- as he has done during one game of back-to-back sets since Westbrook returned Feb. 20 following right knee surgery. The Thunder got some relief with Thabo Sefolosha playing for the first time since injuring his left calf against Memphis on Feb. 28. He finished with two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes. Sacramento, already among the conferences worst teams, played even more short-handed. Kings big man Reggie Evans and forward Rudy Gay sat out with back injuries, and point guard Isaiah Thomas missed his eighth straight game with a bruised right quadriceps. Oklahoma City looked every bit like the better and deeper team at the start. The Thunder surged ahead 9-0 in the first two minutes before Cousins brought the Kings back with his perimeter shot, slicing Oklahoma Citys lead to 30-27 at the end of the first quarter. The Thunder began to pull away again with a 17-4 run in the second quarter propelled by Butler, who made all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half. Oklahoma City led 61-49 at intermission and didnt have a turnover until the second half. Durant credited the communication and ball movement for pulling away late, and he said he hopes the focus can shift from his scoring streak to his teams improved play. "When I sit back after the seasons over thats when I reflect on everything that Ive done, that the teams done, and Im sure Ill appreciate (the streak) then," Durant said. "But now, Im just focusing on game to game and how we can get better as a group and how I can help the team get better." NOTES: The Thunder swept the four-game season series against the Kings. ... Oklahoma City has won 10 straight and 16 of 17 over Sacramento. ... A fan made a shot from half court during a timeout in the first half to win a car. ' ' '