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Chris Paul leads Clippers past 76ers, 112-100

Chris Paul leads Clippers past 76ers, 112-100
Clippers guard Chris Paul celebrates after scoring during the first half against the 76ers. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

There have been too many starts and stops with the Clippers since the week-long All-Star break to determine if they have turned any sort of corner.

They have won their last two games, one over a quality Memphis opponent on Thursday night and a 112-100 victory Saturday afternoon over a hard-playing and better-than-its-record Philadelphia 76ers (23-42) team that pushed the Clippers.

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But the Clippers have performed at a .500 level over their last 10 games, which is not exactly an encouraging sign to see them go 5-5.

They have gone up and down in the Western Conference standings because of their uneven play.

They are the fifth seed in the West, but are just one game behind the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz, which lost to Oklahoma City on Saturday.

The Clippers and Jazz will play an important game Monday night in Utah, giving L.A. another opportunity to take a step in the right direction.

"All this stuff really don't mean much until you get to the playoffs," Chris Paul, whose energized play in the third quarter led him to score 11 of his season-high 30 points, said. "We're trying to jockey for position right now.

"You beat Philly on a Saturday afternoon at 12:30 and that don't really have nothing to do with who you match up with in the playoffs. It's all about what you're building with your team, that identity. That's what is going to carry over into the playoffs."

The force DeAndre Jordan exhibited against a 76ers team with mostly unknown players like Richaun Holmes (24 points) and rookie Dario Saric (16) is what allowed the Clippers to survive.

Jordan produced another double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. It was his ninth game this season collecting 20-plus rebounds, an NBA high. And for great measure, at least for the poor free-throw-shooting Jordan, he was seven for 10 from the free-throw line.

He sealed the game by grabbing an offensive rebound and making one of two free throws for a 10-point Clippers lead.

"It was just our energy and effort down the stretch and throughout the game that got us back in it and then spread the lead out for us," Jordan said.

The Clippers got a big jolt in the fourth quarter of defense and energy from Blake Griffin (15 points, 10 rebounds) and reserves Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton and Marreese Speights.

"At certain times of the game you're just looking for energy and you're looking for anything, for a lineup to work," Griffin said. "I thought that lineup was great."

Now the Clippers have 16 regular-season games left to determine their fate in the standings, to see if they can get the home-court advantage for at least one playoff series.

"We are exactly where we are," Coach Doc Rivers said. "I think the Memphis game was our best game in the games that we've played. The Chicago second half was good. The other games we won or lost. We have to play better. Tonight was good, but we're a better team and my job is to keep pushing them and trying to get them to play better."

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Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner

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