When the buzzer sounded, the Clippers were up on the Philadelphia 76ers by a whopping 31 points. The period was capped off by a corner buzzer-beater by Willie Green. The score at the end of the quarter was 46-15.
For the Clippers, it was their season-high for points in a quarter, and they haven't scored more in a quarter since 1986. The fun didn’t end there—the score at the end of the first half was an awkward 69-30.
This was the first game back for CP3 since suffering a joint separation of his shoulder on January 3. The Clippers have been holding down the fort in his absence, going 12-5 in Paul’s absence.
Paul played just 22.4 minutes on Sunday, scoring seven points and notching eight assists.
Per Dan Arritt of NBA.com, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of his returning star, “I didn’t want to have to play [Paul] that much anyway, so in this case it worked out for him. He got a taste of it."
Los Angeles is now 36-18—good for fourth place in the Western Conference. Philadelphia's record, meanwhile, falls to 15-37.
By the early stages of the fourth quarter, Rivers had emptied his bench—even Antawn Jamison and Sasha Vujacic made appearances. Vujacic, currently on a 10-day contract with the Clippers, sank two shots—his first buckets in the NBA in three years.
With this win, the Clippers pull to within 1.5 games of the Portland Trail Blazers in the West. Los Angeles will host Portland on Wednesday night at Staples.
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