By Greg Beacham
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES _ Blake Griffin scored 18 points, DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers sent the Lakers to their franchise-record 56th defeat of the season, 106-78 Sunday night.
Matt Barnes scored 14 points and Chris Paul had 15 assists for the Clippers, who handed that historic loss to their Staples Center roommates while beating the Lakers for a record sixth straight time overall.
With six games still to play, the Lakers have surpassed last season’s team as the losingest in the 16-time champion franchise’s illustrious history.
The playoff-bound Clippers have won 10 of 11 down the stretch, staying in the tight five-team race behind Golden State for homecourt advantage in the first two rounds of the Western Conference playoffs.
Although the Clippers got home early Sunday morning after a road victory in Denver, they never trailed or showed much weariness while setting a franchise record with their 25th road victory of the season.
Paul and Griffin paced the Clips to a 29-point lead in the third quarter, and the margin grew to 43 points in the fourth while the teams’ least-used players mopped up.
The Clippers opened a 31-game lead over the Lakers in the Pacific Division standings. The teams meet again on Tuesday night in a designated Clippers home game.
Wesley Johnson scored 16 points for the Lakers, who have lost five of six. They’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games against the Clippers after winning 143 of the franchises’ first 192 meetings.
At least the Lakers avoided playing the lowest-scoring game in franchise history. Dwight Buycks, who signed a 10-day contract with the club two days earlier, hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minutes to push the Lakers’ point total past its record-low 70, set in 2002.
The outcome of the clubs’ latest meeting never seemed in doubt. The Clippers methodically opened a 17-point lead in the first half while holding the Lakers to 35 per cent shooting with 11 turnovers. In particular, they limited Clarkson to two points on 1-for-4 shooting, derailing his recent run of effective offensive efforts.
The game turned into a Lob City showcase late in the third quarter, with Paul’s superb playmaking and the Clippers’ defence leading to a succession of spectacular plays.
Paul dribbled the ball between Carlos Boozer’s legs to ignite a fast break, and he also threw an alley-oop pass off the backboard to Griffin for a two-handed slam.
Other than that highlight-reel slam, Griffin largely stuck to perimeter jumpers before getting the fourth quarter off along with the other four starters.
Clippers: G Jamal Crawford missed his 17th straight game with a bruised right calf, although coach Doc Rivers said Crawford had been “thinking about” returning for the game. … After Tuesday’s rematch with the Lakers, they get a three-day break.
Lakers: G Nick Young probably won’t play again this season, coach Byron Scott reiterated before the game. He has been out since Feb. 22 with a broken left kneecap. … They’ve already lost Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, rookie Julius Randle, Xavier Henry and Wayne Ellington to season-ending injuries.
Clippers: Host Lakers on Tuesday.
Lakers: Visit Clippers on Tuesday.