NBA: Bench lifts Clippers by Suns

Backups score all 32 points in 4th; Phoenix drops sixth straight
2012-12-09T00:00:00Z NBA: Bench lifts Clippers by SunsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
December 09, 2012 12:00 am  • 

LOS ANGELES - The bench bailed out the Clippers again.

Jamal Crawford led a fourth-quarter rally with 13 of his 21 points, and Los Angeles beat Phoenix 117-99 on Saturday, winning its fifth in a row while sending the Suns to their season-worst sixth straight loss.

"Thank the bench because the starters were struggling," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Blake Griffin added 24 points and a career-best four steals, and Chris Paul had 16 points and 11 assists, but the Clippers' reserves carried them. Crawford made all four of his free throws to extend his streak to 55 in a row since Nov. 3.

The Clippers led 85-83 after three quarters but broke out in the fourth as their reserves scored all 32 points. They opened with a 17-4 run in which Crawford scored 11 points, including a three-pointer and two free throws.

"When the starters get 61 and the bench gets 56, that's a well-balanced team," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Michael Beasley had 21 points off the bench, Shannon Brown added 19 and Luis Scola had 18 for Phoenix, which hadn't lost six in a row since March 3-12, 2009.

"If we're going to get out of this, we've got to work our own way out and do it collectively as a group," Gentry said. "In this league, no one feels sorry for you."

• Bulls 93, Knicks 85: In Chicago, Marco Belinelli and Luol Deng scored 22 points each as the Bulls broke New York's five-game win streak. Deng had 10 in the fourth as the Bulls won their third straight.

• Mavericks 116, Rockets 109: In Houston, O.J. Mayo scored 40 points, including 10 in the last three minutes, to lift Dallas in coach Kevin McHale's return to the Houston bench after his daughter's death. The Rockets' James Harden had 30 points at halftime, but the Mavs held him to just nine in the second half.

• Heat 106, Hornets 90: In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 26 points, LeBron James finished with 24 points and seven assists, and the Heat broke a two-game slide by topping New Orleans.

• Spurs 132, Bobcats 102: In San Antonio, Danny Green scored 23 points and the Spurs set a franchise record with 19 three-pointers to hand Charlotte its seventh straight defeat. Green was 7 of 9 in threes as the Spurs (17-4) won for the ninth time in 10 games.

• Hawks 93, Grizzlies 83: In Memphis, Tenn., Josh Smith had 24 points and Lou Williams scored 18 of his 21 in the second half for Atlanta, 9-1 in its last 10 games.

• Pistons 104, Cavaliers 97: In Cleveland, Brandon Knight scored a career-high 30 points and Detroit defeated the Cavs for the second time in six days.

• Celtics 92, 76ers 79: In Boston, Kevin Garnett scored 19 points, Jeff Green added 16, and the Celtics held Philly to a season-low 28 points in the first half.

• Warriors 101, Wizards 97: In Washington, David Lee's 24 points and 17 boards helped Golden State win its third straight on the road.

• Kings 99, Trail Blazers 80: In Portland, John Salmons had 19 points and 11 assists to lead Sacramento. The Blazers got 14 points and 15 rebounds from J.J. Hickson.

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