After taking four days off to collect themselves after a difficult loss to San Antonio, Chris Paul made sure the Clippers played better basketball.
Paul took over the game in the third quarter and then saved the Clippers from imploding in the fourth, pushing Los Angeles to a 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Paul scored a season-high 32 points on 10-for-13 shooting, including five for six on three-point shots. He had nine assists and five rebounds in helping the Clippers score a season high in points.
When the Clippers’ 26-point lead was cut to 11 points late in the fourth quarter, Paul went to work.
He scored seven consecutive points in the fourth to help the Clippers pull out a victory in which six players scored in double figures.
He made two free throws, a three-pointer and a jumper.
The Clippers outscored the Suns, 42-20, in the third quarter in opening their big lead.
The Clippers made 72.2% of their shots (13 of 18) in the third, 60% (six of 10) of their three-point shots.
DeAndre Jordan was a force on the court in producing a double-double with 12 points and a season high in rebounds (18) and blocks (seven).
When Jordan collected his fifth rebound with 27.7 seconds left in the first quarter, it gave him 3,500 rebounds. That made him the fifth Clippers player to grab at least that many rebounds during their career with the team.
Matt Barnes was back in the starting lineup at small forward after watching reserve Jamal Crawford start the last two games.
Barnes had a season-high 12 points.
But in typical Barnes fashion, he was called for a technical foul in the first quarter for hitting Anthony Tolliver in the face.
Then Barnes was hit with his second technical foul and ejected from the game with 4 minutes 27 seconds left for throwing the ball down on the court after Alex Len scored.
Blake Griffin had 18 points, going seven for 12 from the field.
Griffin also had eight rebounds and four assists.
Spencer Hawes, playing with a strained left foot, had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Gerald Green led the Suns with 26 points off the bench and Goran Dragic had 19 points.
The Clippers were fortunate to be tied, 54-54, with the Suns at halftime.
The Suns had more fast-break points (15-3) and more points in the paint (32-12) than the Clippers.
But the Clippers made a living at the free-throw line, making 14 of 16 in the first half. They were four-for-five from the free-throw line in the first 24 minutes.
On the injury front, Clippers backup small forward Chris Douglas-Roberts has a strained right Achilles’ tendon. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said there was “no timetable” for Roberts’ return.