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Chris Paul closes the show in Clippers' victory

Pacers cut a 17-point lead to four in the fourth quarter, but then Paul scores the final eight Clippers points in a 99-91 victory.

February 28, 2013|By Broderick Turner

INDIANAPOLIS — The game was slipping away from the Clippers, a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter evaporating during an Indiana Pacers surge.

But Chris Paul refused to let the Clippers lose.

After the lead was sliced to four points, Paul scored the final eight points for his team to lead L.A. to a 99-91 victory over a Pacers team that has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

It was more than Paul's 29 points on 11-for-18 shooting that helped the Clippers win for the seventh time in eight games, more than his six rebounds and eight assists.

It was his ability to be the closer, to have the will to take over during the game's biggest moments and deliver.

"I just love to see him take over games like that," Chauncey Billups said. "That is something that you're either blessed to have or you're sorry you don't have it. He's got it."

It didn't seem as if the Clippers would need Paul to have it on this night.

They were doing a job on the Pacers.

Blake Griffin was working them over while scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Jamal Crawford, back after missing Tuesday night's game for the birth of his daughter, had 23 points.

After Lamar Odom made two free throws, the Clippers had an 89-72 lead with 7:05 to play in the game.

But the Pacers didn't go quietly. They went on a 15-2 run to pull to within four points.

That's when Paul took over.

He scored on a 16-foot fadeaway.

After David West (22 points) scored to pull the Pacers to within four points again, Paul went back to work, scoring on a driving layup.

West made two free throws to cut the lead to 95-91 with 51.1 seconds left, but Paul scored on a finger roll and then finished off the Pacers with two free throws for the final margin.

"You've got to hate to lose, you know what I mean?" Paul said. "Here we had a solid lead, and this league is built off momentum.

"A few of those shots on that [Pacers] run, you're just like, 'Man, I know he's going to make it.' Then at some point, you've just got to settle everything down and say, 'It's win time.'"

The Pacers played without center Roy Hibbert, who was suspended for the game because of his role in an altercation Tuesday with Golden State's David Lee.

But with All-Star forward Paul George scoring eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and with Lance Stephenson (23 points) and George Hill (12 points) doing work, the Clippers had their hands full.

That was until Paul took over.

"I've been watching the Pacers a lot and they have been beating teams bad, especially here at home," Paul said. "So it's a really good win for us."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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