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Clippers blast Bobcats by 22 at home

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - With the NBA's worst team in town, the Los Angeles Clippers were conscious not to play down to the Bobcats' level.

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Blake Griffin scored 24 points, keying a decisive second-quarter burst that put the Clippers in command en route to a 106-84 victory Tuesday night that improved their home record to 23-6.

Matt Barnes added 17 points off the bench, Caron Butler had 16 points, DeAndre Jordan 13, and Chris Paul had 13 of the Clippers' season-high 34 assists for their sixth win in seven games. The Bobcats managed just 17 assists.

``We tried to attack early and be aggressive,'' Paul said. ``We have to let our defense dictate our offense. Our defense is so amazing. We got two dynamic bigs in D.J. and Griffin who can block shots. When we get stops we're tough in transition because we've got high flyers.''

Gerald Henderson tied his season high with 24 points and Kemba Walker had 15 points for Charlotte, which has lost four straight and 12 of 14 while falling to 7-23 on the road.

``We're giving heavy minutes to a lot of young guys, and that's a lot of seeds in the earth that will eventually be harvested,'' Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said.

The Clippers put together a 21-6 run over the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth that extended their lead to 91-63 - largest of the game. Lamar Odom ended the third with a 3-pointer and opened the fourth with another for six points in the spurt. Griffin had five points and Grant Hill three.

Griffin was involved in two highlights during that stretch. Jordan blocked a shot, Paul grabbed the ball and fed Griffin on the break for a left-handed dunk and a foul that resulted in a three-point play. Barnes set Griffin up on the break with an alley-oop pass that the All-Star converted into a layup.

``DeAndre and Blake are two of the best athletes you've got in the league,'' Henderson said. ``If you don't put a body on them and be physical with them, they're going to play over the top of the rim.''

The Clippers rallied with a 15-2 run to take a 54-45 lead going into halftime. Jordan scored their first five points, including a fast-break dunk off Chauncey Billups' behind-the-back pass that gave the Clippers their first lead since the game's opening basket.

``That's what I do,'' Billups said. ``I seen him coming so hard. I knew I could get it there, I was just hoping he could see it.''

Butler hit a 3-pointer and Griffin scored the final seven points. Paul fed Griffin for two straight alley-oop dunks and Griffin closed things out with a fast-break driving dunk.

``We did a good job after that initial first quarter,'' said Griffin, who had seven rebounds and six assists. ``When we get out and get easy buckets it gets us going.''

Charlotte controlled the first quarter, shooting 59 percent to lead 30-24. Henderson had 10 of his team's first 14 points.

``For 20 minutes we played fantastic basketball,'' Dunlap said. ``We had the lead, but we made some turnovers that they made some dunks off of, and that brought the crowd into the game. That ignited them and it carried over into the second half.''

Notes: The Bobcats finished the month of February with just two wins (over Boston and Orlando). ... Clippers backup G Jamal Crawford had the night off after his wife gave birth to their daughter, London Faith, on Monday in Seattle. He will rejoin the team for its game at Indiana on Thursday. ... Clippers reserve G Eric Bledsoe sat out with a sore left calf he injured last week against San Antonio. He's day-to-day. ... The Bobcats haven't beaten the Clippers in Los Angeles since Feb. 28, 2009.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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