Paul, Suns beat Clippers 106-89 to improve to NBA-best 30-8

National Sports

PHOENIX (AP)Chris Paul had a triple-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to help the short-handed Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 106-89 on Thursday night.

The Suns became the first team in the NBA to win 30 games this season and moved a game ahead of Golden State for the best record in the NBA. They’ve won three straight and four of five.

Cam Johnson added a career-high 24 points, and Jalen Smith – the second-year forward whose playing time has drastically increased recently because of the Suns’ COVID-19 issues – had another good game with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

The 36-year-old Paul had his 17th career triple double. The 13 rebounds were a career high in his 1,128th regular-season NBA game.

Devin Booker shot just 5 of 22 from the field and finished with 11 points. He was 0 of 7 on 3-pointers.

Suns coach Monty Williams said center Deandre Ayton, forward Jae Crowder and JaVale McGee have all cleared the league’s COVID-19 protocols, but were held out of the game as they work their way back into shape. Guard Landry Shamet is still in the protocol.

The Clippers dropped below .500 with the loss at 19-20 despite a season-high 26 points from former Suns forward Marcus Morris Sr. Reggie Jackson added 16. The Clippers were missing guards Luke Kennard and Xavier Moon, along with center Ivica Zubac, because of COVID-19 protocols.

KNICKS 108, CELTICS 105

NEW YORK (AP) – RJ Barrett banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift New York past Boston.

Evan Fournier scored a career-high 41 points, and the Knicks overcame a 24-point, second-quarter deficit. The teams will finish the home-and-home set Saturday night in Boston.

Jayson Tatum scored 36 points for Boston. He tied it on a long step-back jumper with just over a second to play. The Knicks inbounded after a timeout, and Barrett banked in the long-distance shot for the victory.

Julius Randle added 22 points for New York, Immanuel Quickley had 16, and Barrett 13. The Knicks didn’t lead until there were just over two minutes left.

Dennis Schroder added 20 points for Boston, and Jaylen Brown had 16.

PELICANS 101, WARRIORS 96

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Brandon Ingram broke out of a shooting slump with 32 points and New Orleans beat depleted Golden State to snap a three-game skid.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry was ruled out after hurting his left quad during a loss a night earlier in Dallas. Draymond Green was out with a sore hip.

Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points for Golden State.

GRIZZLIES 118, PISTONS 88

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Ja Morant had 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Memphis built an early lead and coasted past Detroit for its seventh straight victory.

Dillon Brooks finished with 18 points, and Tyus Jones and rookie Ziaire Williams added 14 points apiece for Memphis, a season high for Williams.

Saben Lee led the Pistons with 14 points.

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