Paul, Crawford lead Clippers to 108-91 win over Wizards
WASHINGTON (AP) With one of the game's best dunkers grounded by an injury, Clippers point guard Chris Paul made his own mark above the rim.
Don't count on it becoming a habit.
The 6-foot All-Star surprised even himself by dunking twice during a 23-point performance, helping Los Angeles defeat the Washington Wizards 108-91 in their second game without the injured Blake Griffin.
''I met my quota,'' Paul said of his aerial prowess. ''I usually get one or two for the season.''
DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 13 rebounds as Los Angeles won its third straight.
Reserve Jamal Crawford added 21 points, part of 54 scored by substitutes in a game the Clippers never trailed and led by at least 10 for the final three quarters.
''Our bench was amazing tonight,'' said Paul, who was afforded the luxury of sitting the entire fourth quarter. ''I was probably the biggest cheerleader because I was saying I didn't want any more action.''
John Wall had 23 points and 11 assists, and Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 16 rebounds as the Wizards' four-game win streak was snapped.
Otto Porter added 21 points off the bench in his second game back for Washington after missing three with a thigh issue. The Wizards are still dealing with injuries to starting guard Bradley Beal and reserves Nene, Gary Neal and Drew Gooden.
''We're short-handed,'' said Porter, who has mostly been a starter this season. ''And I'm just trying to help the guys out any way I can.''
Griffin, the league's slam dunk champ in 2011, will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a partially torn quadriceps.
Paul picked up the slack for at least one night.
His first dunk came on an uncontested break that capped a 21-6 game-opening run. After taking Luc Mbah a Moute's pass and flushing it home, Paul raised his arms in a mix of triumph and disbelief toward his celebrating bench and coach Doc Rivers.
''I was just surprised,'' Paul said. ''Don't look at me, look at everybody on the bench. Like Doc was even with his hands up and I was sorta just like, `I don't know.'''
Paul failed to grab the rim on his second, but still sent his teammates leaping down the baseline in delight after slicing through Washington's defense and finishing over the defending Kelly Oubre. His free throw completed a three-point play to make it 53-34.
Paul Pierce scored nine points for the Clippers in his first game in Washington since helping the Wizards to last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.
He remembered that season fondly, even though he chose the Clippers over the Wizards in free agency this offseason.
''Just being around the young guys, teaching them every day, talking to them, this was one of my funnest years,'' said Pierce. ''I embraced the city. They embraced me back.''
He said his offseason decision stemmed from his relationship with Rivers and a desire to return to his home city, not any bad feelings toward Washington.
Pierce also restrained himself from offering an opinion on the NBA's best point guard.
''It's hard to distinguish one from the other going from (Rajon) Rondo to Wall to Chris,'' he said. ''Every point guard I play with I'm like he's the best point guard in the league. I don't know if it's the Paul Pierce effect.''
Clippers: Pierce started for a fourth time in 30 games this season, and Rivers said he may start the 38-year-old veteran more to mix and match lineups in Griffin's absence. ... Jordan posted a third consecutive double-double for the third time this season and his 17th overall. ... Reserve G Austin Rivers (ankle) returned after missing four games.
Wizards: Gortat posted his 16th double-double of the season. ... Beal (leg) could begin non-basketball related activities this week, coach Randy Wittman said. He hasn't played since Dec. 9.
Clippers: at Charlotte on Wednesday.
Wizards: at Toronto on Wednesday.