Griffin leads Clippers past Wizards

Griffin leads Clippers past Wizards
February 16, 2012, 6:19 am
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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- On the day that Chauncey Billups underwent surgery in Colorado to repair a torn left Achilles that ended his season, Randy Foye demonstrated why the Los Angeles Clippers have the confidence to start him at shooting guard.

Foye scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter against his former team, leading the Clippers to a 102-84 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

"Foye was outstanding, and we're going to need that from him," point guard Chris Paul said. "Tonight he hit some very timely 3s that gave us some separation. I've known him for years and I used to play against him when he was in Minnesota.

"Foye was one of those guys who used to give us fits because he's such a good player. I think at times, he's better than he thinks he is. He can handle the ball, he's big and strong and athletic, and he can shoot it. So we just need him to keep getting his confidence."

Blake Griffin had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Caron Butler added 21 points and the Clippers increased their lead in the Pacific Division to two games over the idle Lakers with their ninth victory in 12 contests. Paul had 16 points and nine assists.

Coming off a 96-92 loss at Dallas in which Foye 0 for 7 from the field, the Clippers took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter before John Wall cut it to 75-72 on a 16-footer with 10:12 remaining. But Foye completely took during the next 3 12 minutes, after missing all four shots in 26 minutes over the first three quarters.

The six-year veteran, who spent the 2009-10 season with the Wizards before signing with the Clippers as a free agent in July 2010, started his one-man assault with a 3-pointer, then made two free throws and hustled after an offensive rebound to set up another 3 by Mo Williams. Foye made two more free throws and capped his run with a 3-pointer that made it 88-76 with 6:59 to play. From then on, it was no contest.

"Mo drove and then he found me on the left wing, and I just let it go," Foye said. "I didn't shoot too well in Dallas, and I was upset with myself. So I got here early and took some shots trying to get myself going. I didn't shoot too well early on, but once I hit a shot, I felt good."

The Clippers have beaten the Wizards seven consecutive times -- including a double-overtime win last March at Staples Center in which Griffin had 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in a career-high 51 12 minutes for his first NBA triple-double. The Clippers' longest winning streak against any club is 11 against Dallas from 1992-1994.

Wall and JaVale McGee led Washington with 18 points each. The Wizards, coming off their second straight road win after an 0-10 start, weren't able to sustain their momentum following Tuesday night's 124-109 victory at Portland.

"We did a great job managing the game, running pick(equals)-and-rolls and getting everyone involved," Wall said. "It's tough to play them because they can play defense, run and score."

Former USC guard Nick Young missed his first nine shots and finished 5 for 18 with 14 points after getting a season-high 35 against the Trail Blazers.

"We wanted to make him as uncomfortable as possible. That was the plan," Foye said. "You can't just let him stand out there and take target practice."

Young ended his field goal drought with a 3-pointer that trimmed the Clippers' lead to 56-55 with 7:19 left in the third quarter and made two more from behind the arc in a 1:19 span to put Washington back in front 60-58 with 5:57 left in the period.

"My teammates were encouraging me all night long, and I tried to get it going in the second half," Young said. "It was just one of those nights. We played hard and fought, but it was back-to-back games, and they made a push in the fourth quarter."

Rookie forward Jan Vesely threw down an uncontested dunk that gave the Wizards a 62-60 edge with 5:07 left in the third. But he returned to the bench 15 seconds later after picking up his fifth foul, and Griffin gave the Clippers the lead for good with a back-to-back dunks to make it 70-66. The first came after his offensive rebound of Foye's missed 3-pointer, the other off an alley-oop lob by Paul with 2:47 left in the quarter.

Notes: Howard Eisley, a player development assistant with the Clippers who sits right behind their bench during games, was fined 15,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for verbal abuse of an official. The incident took place at the end of the Monday's 96-92 loss at Dallas. "It was kind of unexpected, but the league felt it was warranted -- and the rules are strict," coach Vinny Del Negro said. ... Paul received a technical foul with 1:59 left in the second quarter, the 32nd called against Clippers players and coaches this season. They have yet to have anyone ejected from a game with two, but Paul came close 39 seconds later after fouling Wall. ... The game featured the first overall pick in three drafts: Griffin (2009), Wall (2010) and Kenyon Martin (2000). Martin made his home debut with the Clippers, playing 23 minutes and getting four points and four rebounds in his fifth game with the club after signing as a free agent Feb. 3.