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story.lead_photo.caption Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (3) tries to score around San Antonio Spurs' Tiago Splitter during the second half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO -- The Los Angeles Clippers answered their worst loss in playoff history with one of their most uplifting victories.

Chris Paul had 34 points and seven assists, Blake Griffin added 20 points and 19 rebounds, and the Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 114-105 on Sunday to even their first-round series at two games apiece.

The Clippers, who bounced back from a 100-73 loss in Game 3, host Game 5 on Tuesday. This is the only series that is tied after four games.

Los Angeles Coach Doc Rivers said the team's "spirit" was broken during that lopsided loss, but he didn't coddle his players during a two-hour film session Saturday.

"Doc pretty much went at all of us," Paul said. "He told us about ourselves and he told us what we didn't do. He told us that when it comes to the playoffs, it is the players' time."

The Clippers responded by shooting 54 percent from the field after being held to 34 percent Friday.

J.J. Redick scored 17 points for Los Angeles and Austin Rivers provided an unexpected boost off the bench with a postseason career-high 16 points.

"It's more than just shooting the ball," Paul said. "Our defense was better and our offensive execution [was better]. I think I got more shots because of the tempo of the game that we played at. We played downhill, we set screens; we're tough when we play like that."

San Antonio was 6 for 25 on three-pointers and 25 for 35 on free throws.

"We lacked a lot of discipline," Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said. "We didn't execute sharply enough in what we wanted to strategy-wise or just in general basketball play."

Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points, Tim Duncan had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Tony Parker added 18 points for San Antonio, but Paul proved too much.

The point guard was 11 for 19 from the field and 10 for 10 on free throws while committing just two turnovers in 38 minutes.

Paul hit jumpers over Parker and Duncan in scoring six consecutive points for the Clippers beginning midway through the fourth quarter. He then drove the lane and kicked out to Redick, who drained a three-pointer for a 106-92 lead.

Austin Rivers allowed Los Angeles to keep its momentum when Paul sat, opening the second quarter with seven consecutive points by backing down 6-foot Patty Mills. Rivers, who is 6-4, was 7 for 8 from the field in 17 minutes.

"We did game plan for him, but not for him to make the shots that he did," Duncan said. "Those are shots that we are kind of willing to give up at that point contested and he knocked them out."

The Spurs never trailed in Game 3, but Jordan helped stake the Clippers to a 6-0 lead Sunday. He finished with 6 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.


BOSTON -- LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a shoulder injury to Kevin Love to complete a first-round sweep of the Boston Celtics.

Love left the court in the first quarter after hurting his left shoulder, and J.R. Smith was ejected for swinging his arm at Jae Crowder, but the Cavaliers held on to win a series for the first time since 2010, before James left for Miami.

Now Cleveland gets extra time before facing the winner of the Chicago-Milwaukee series. The Bulls lead 3-1.

The Cavaliers led 99-89 with 44 seconds left, but the Celtics didn't give up. Isaiah Thomas hit a layup and Avery Bradley sank two free throws to cut the lead to six before the ball went out of bounds off Kyrie Irving. But Gigi Datome missed a three-pointer before Irving was fouled and made two shots.


WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards emphatically completed the first sweep of a seven-game series in club history, getting 23 points from Bradley Beal and 21 points and 11 rebounds from Marcin Gortat to beat the Toronto Raptors.

Paul Pierce, who repeatedly said he didn't want to have to go back through U.S. Customs for any more games in Canada, added 14 points, including two three-pointers in the third quarter as Washington's lead reached 32 entering the fourth.

Washington has reached the second round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since getting to the NBA Finals in 1979, a year after winning the title.

Next up for the Wizards will be No. 1 seed Atlanta or No. 8 Brooklyn.

Sports on 04/27/2015

Print Headline: Clippers answer with Paul, Griffin


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