DeAndre Jordan tallied 16 points and 16 rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers clinched a Western Conference playoff spot with a 105-90 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
The Clippers became the fourth West club to book a playoff berth as they used a strong second half to get the job done in front of a crowd of 19 000 at the Staples Centre arena.
Chris Paul scored 14 points, handed out nine assists and grabbed six rebounds for Los Angeles, which had six players score in double figures.
“We started getting stops in the second half,” said Paul. “When D.J. Augustin came back in, we started blitzing, trying to get the ball out of his hands. He sort of controlled the game in the first half.”
“He did a little bit of everything. So, in the second half, we tried to take him out of the game. I think that helped us.”
Jamal Crawford scored 14 points, Jeff Green and Wesley Johnson added 13 points each, and J.J. Redick had 12 points.
Jordan connected on seven-of-10 shots from the floor as the Clippers clinched a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season. Jordan leads the NBA in field goal percentage.
Jusuf Nurkic led the Nuggets with 19 points. Augustin had 16 of his 18 points in the first half before the Clippers put a dent in his production after intermission.
Augustin added 10 assists. Will Barton finished with 13 points for Denver. Gary Harris scored 11.
The Clippers opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to stretch their four-point halftime lead to 67-54.
The Clippers took a 77-60 lead into the fourth and the Nuggets failed to get close again.
“The third quarter killed us,” Denver coach Mike Malone said. “They got out to a great start, we weathered the storm, came back, played really well and made it a game.
“Then, to get outscored 25-12 in the third quarter, I think we had five turnovers, and if we did not turn it over DeAndre blocked our shot it felt like. We just could not score.”
COUSINS DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE
DeMarcus Cousins finished with a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings rolled to their second straight victory with a 133-111 rout of the Dallas Mavericks.
Willie Cauley-Stein scored 21 points for the Kings, who also won by 22 points against Phoenix on Friday. Rajon Rondo contributed 11 points and 11 assists.
Raymond Felton had 15 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 points for the Mavericks, who have lost 10 of 12 games.
GEORGE LEADS PACERS PAST ROCKETS
Paul George scored 25 points and Monta Ellis added 22 as the Indiana Pacers edged the Houston Rockets 104-101.
Ian Mahinmi had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race and sit a half-game ahead of the eighth-place Detroit Pistons.
James Harden finished with 34 points to lead the Rockets. Trevor Ariza had 14 points, and Dwight Howard added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, which remains a half-game ahead of Dallas for eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race.