Chris Paul made sure the Clippers didn't let a 16-point lead, and the game, slip away, making history in the process.
Paul made sure by scoring 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to push the Clippers to a 112-103 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Paul also had 15 assists and six steals, and was 10 for 15 from the field.
Paul's assist with 53.2 seconds left in the first quarter — a pass to Griffin — was the 6,000th of his career.
Paul became the seventh player in NBA history to get at least 6,000 assists before the end of his ninth season. He now has 6,011.
He shook hands with Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, his idol, at halftime.
“Chris, he is an amazing point guard, one of the best of all time,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “And he played in front of one of the best of all time, in Isiah. They are very similar in a lot of ways with their ballhandling.”
But it wasn't as if Paul didn't have help in this win.
Blake Griffin had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Matt Barnes had 14 points.
With guards Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford back playing, the Clippers are slowing starting to get healthy again.
Collison, who had missed the last two games with a stomach virus, started against the Pistons and scored 11 points.
Crawford, who had missed eight of the last nine games with a strained left calf, was back coming off the bench to score nine points.
Now the Clippers continue to wait on guard J.J. Redick, who missed his 19th consecutive game with a bulging disk in his back.
The Clippers just pushed forward, playing much better defense in the third quarter than they did in the first half, when the Pistons shot 51.1% from the field and scored 55 points. But the Clippers tightened the defense in the third quarter, helping them to go on an 18-3 run and build a 74-58 lead.
The Clippers held Detroit to 15 points on 22.7% shooting in the third.
But the Pistons wouldn't go away quietly.
At one point, the Clippers had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and looked as if they would put the Pistons away. But the Pistons pulled to within six.
Then, after DeAndre Jordan missed two free throws with 3:37 left, the Pistons had a chance to cut into more of the Clippers' lead.
But when Greg Monroe went up for a dunk attempt, Crawford stripped the ball away. Jordan then made one of two free throws and went downcourt to block a shot by Will Bynum, leading to a 24-clock violation by the Pistons.
Paul scored while being fouled and made the free throw to give the Clippers a 104-94 lead that stood.
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