Clippers beat Pelicans, 107-100, keep improving lot in the West

Clippers get past Pelicans, pull to within one game of third-seeded Houston in West

These days, each of the Clippers' games has presented them the opportunity improve their lot in the Western Conference.

Their 107-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday at Staples Center allowed the Clippers to take another upward step in the super-competitive conference.

The Clippers (46-25) have the fourth-best record in the West, giving them a half-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers (44-24).

The Clippers, who have won four in a row, also are one game behind the third-seeded Houston Rockets.

With 11 regular-season games left, the Clippers are poised to get the home-court advantage for a playoff series.

"I'm not following the standings," said Chris Paul, who had 23 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. "It's too close. I think for me, as long as we're winning, I know we're fine. I'm more concerned about what we're doing and how we're playing than what's happening in the standings."

It took all five of the starters scoring in double figures for the Clippers to put themselves in position to put pressure on Portland and Houston.

Blake Griffin had another strong game, scoring 23 points. J.J. Redick continued his solid play, scoring 20 points on seven-for-16 shooting, three for six on three-point shots.

DeAndre Jordan had 12 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Matt Barnes had 12 points on five-for-eight shooting.

"We need to approach every game like it's a playoff game," Barnes said. "We're trying to move up in the standings. It's a rare opportunity to almost where every game that we play will affect the standings."

Griffin has been looking for improvements in his game after sitting out 15 games following surgery for a staph infection in his right elbow.

In his fifth game back, Griffin has started to feel better about his shooting.

He made 10 of 21 shots.

"It's been up and down in different areas," Griffin said. "The point of emphasis for me have been more aggressive and to shoot more. So I try to do that, but at the same time, still take good shots.

"I still try to be a playmaker at the same time as well. So, it is getting there."

Eventually, the Clippers had to figure they'd pull away from a game against the injury-depleted Pelicans.

The Pelicans played without Jrue Holiday (right leg injury), Ryan Anderson (right knee), Omer Asik (right calf) and Tyreke Evans (left ankle).

When the Pelicans took it to the Clippers in the first quarter by making 70.5% (12 of 17) of their shots, the Clippers knew it wasn't going to be easy.

It took until the fourth quarter for the Clippers to get some breathing room.

"I think our team responded well to them playing well," Redick said. "We could have gotten negative. We could have got flustered. I think we responded well.

"There were several times where we could have, not completely folded, but just given in a little bit and we didn't."

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