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Chris Paul takes over in overtime to lift Clippers

Guard scores nine points in the extra period to help L.A. beat Detroit, 87-83, and finishes with 19 points. It is the first time in more than a month that the Clippers have won consecutive games.

March 18, 2012|By Broderick Turner

It was "winning time," Chris Paul told his teammates.

And that meant it was time for Paul to shine again, to be the force again, to push the Clippers to victory again.

This time, Paul worked his magic in overtime, scoring nine points in the period to lift the Clippers over the Detroit Pistons, 87-83, Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

He finished with 19 points on eight-for-14 shooting, 15 assists and nine rebounds.

"Just being around this league for a while, at some point it's just winning time," Paul said. "It's when you can't sit back and watch somebody else do it or worry about what the refs are doing. You've just got to try to be aggressive on both ends of the court."

The Clippers were down 10 points in the third quarter and looked to be on the verge of another loss.

Eight of their last 11 games have been decided by six points or fewer, including Sunday, when Paul refused to let the Clippers lose another close game.

"At the end of the third, I got in the huddle and I said, 'Fourth-quarter comeback once again,' " Paul said. "We've got to figure out a way to go into the fourth quarter up 10, up 12, or something like that."

Paul's nine points in the overtime were the same as the Pistons had as a team.

The Clippers made four field goals in the overtime and Paul had three of them. He assisted on the other, a pass to Randy Foye for a layup that basically secured the victory at 85-82 with seven seconds to play.

"Obviously, Chris has won a lot of the games for us in the fourth quarter," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "That's something that you can't rely on all the time, but it's good to have.

"It's not always going to work out; it hasn't always worked out in a positive way for us. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a better guy with the ball at the end of the game, I think, than Chris in the league."

That also was the case Saturday against Houston, when Paul scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 23.

"It's not surprising anymore," said Blake Griffin, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. "It's sad, but it's almost expected. You just kind of expect him to come down and do this and do that."

The Clippers have won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month. The victories came after Thursday night's hourlong team meeting in the wake of a loss to Phoenix.

Foye, who had 14 points, said the main message at the meeting was for each player to look at himself.

"It's like, 'What can you do to help this team? What are you doing that's hurting this team?' " Foye said. "So just be a man and look in the mirror. If it's slapping somebody on the butt when they come out of the game, if it's knocking down shots, if it's playing defense, whatever it is, be consistent at doing it. Don't do it when you want to do it. You've got to do it every night."

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