LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Clippers got their franchise-record 50th victory in their fourth try. It didn't come without some fireworks that had nothing to do with celebrating.
DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Chris Paul added 14 points and 12 assists, and Los Angeles led all the way in beating the last-place Phoenix Suns 126-101 on Wednesday night as tempers flared in the fourth quarter.
"It's big," Jordan said about the landmark win, "but we're looking at the bigger picture. This is one thing we can check off."
Willie Green and Caron Butler scored 15 points each, and Blake Griffin had nine points, seven assists and five rebounds to help the Clippers end a three-game skid with their second-highest scoring total of the season. They improved to 50-26 overall, bettering the single-season record for wins set in 1974-75 when the team was in Buffalo. They're 29-9 at home.
"Whenever you do something first it's significant, but we expect more and we should," coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Griffin added, "We feel like we could have been a 60-win team."
The Clippers needed to win and have Golden State lose to New Orleans to clinch the franchise's first division title. But the Warriors won 98-88, postponing another first by this Clippers team.
"Ever since I got here we talked about setting a precedent," Paul said.
Wesley Johnson scored 20 points and Jermaine O'Neal added 18 for the last-place Suns, who have lost seven straight overall, 13 of their last 15, and six in a row on the road. Goran Dragic, who didn't score his first basket until the start of the third quarter, finished with 12.
"We didn't contend while they were penetrating and scoring some easy baskets," Dragic said. "We're not going to make the playoffs, so just try to compete until the end of the season."
The Clippers pulled away in the third, outscoring the Suns 38-20 to lead 95-70 going into the fourth. Jordan's teammates set him up for three high-flying dunks — he had eight total in the game — while Griffin and Paul got ones of their own in, too.
"It's all energy and effort," Del Negro said about Jordan. "He was active and running the court. When he moves like that it makes the game easier for him and the team."
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