By BETH HARRIS, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul scored 26 points, Blake Griffin added 24 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 105-96 on Saturday night to win their fifth in a row for the first time since 2006.
Randy Foye added 17 points and DeAndre Jordan had 10 rebounds for the surging Clippers, who have won six straight at home and are a game behind the first-place Lakers in the Pacific Division. They hadn't won five consecutive games since opening the 2006-07 season with a 5-1 record.
Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 26 points, while Paul Millsap added 18, Gordon Hayward 14 and C.J. Miles 13. Utah lost its third in a row after closing within four points in the third quarter.
Paul left the game with a bruised right elbow at 7:37 of the third. He was dribbling the ball as Devin Harris tried to poke it away when he winced in pain. He left the bench and returned with 11 minutes left in the fourth.
Paul finished with six assists, giving him 185 in March and breaking the franchise record of 179 for a single month set by Norm Nixon with the San Diego Clippers in 1983.
Utah came out of halftime with a 12-4 run that cut their deficit to four points. Foye got the Clippers going with a 3-pointer before Griffin scored six in a row, capped by a two-handed dunk off Foye's alley-oop pass. Eric Bledsoe, who came in while Paul was out, scored five straight and restored their lead to 75-61.
The Clippers kept their momentum going in the fourth, leading by 17 early on Nick Young's dunk. The Jazz got within eight on two free throws by Paul Millsap in the midst of Paul and Griffin teaming to score 11 straight for the Clippers, who led 98-84.
The Jazz outscored the Clippers 12-6, including consecutive 3-pointers by Miles, to end the game.
Utah closed to 57-45 at halftime after trailing by 19 points early in the second. Hayward scored the Jazz's final six points, including a dunk, while the Clippers missed all three of their free-throw attempts in the final 1:23. Jordan had the highlight dunk of the second quarter, taking an alley-oop pass from Paul and slamming it in one-handed.
The Clippers shot 68 percent from the floor and 75 percent from 3-point range, making 6 of 8, in the first quarter. They built a 31-14 lead from the start before settling for a 38-22 advantage going into the second.
Notes: The Clippers finished March with an 11-9 record as the first team since the Cincinnati Royals in February 1967 to play 20 or more games in a single month. ... The Clippers went undefeated in a homestand of at least five games for just the third time in franchise history. They last did it twice in the 1978-79 season. ... Griffin scored at least 20 points for the sixth straight game. ... The Clippers lead the season series 2-1, although Utah has won 10 of the last 13 meetings. ... Both teams were playing back-to-backs. The Clippers improved to 8-4 in the second game. The Jazz had lost to Sacramento on Friday night.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.