They don’t start games, but the reserves for the Los Angeles Clippers clearly know how to finish them. Jamal Crawford scored 16 points and fellow backup Eric Bledsoe had 10 of his 14 in a 21-4 closing run on Sunday, sparking the Clippers past the visiting Toronto Raptors for their sixth-straight victory 102-83.
Blake Griffin netted 19 points, Chris Paul added 16 and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 10 rebounds for the Clippers (14-6), who took a one-game lead over idle Golden State atop the Pacific Division. DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, and Linas Kleiza hit five threes en route to 17 for the struggling Raptors (4-17), who were outscored 25-10 in the final frame in their 10th loss in 11 games.
Carmelo Anthony, returning from a two-game absence, had 11 of his 34 points in the final quarter against his former team as the New York Knicks rallied past the Denver Nuggets and improved to a league-best 8-0 at home. Kevin Durant dropped in 27 points, Kevin Martin had 24 and Russell Westbrook added six of his 21 in an 11-2 closing run as the Oklahama City Thunder (17-4) stretched its winning streak to eight straight against Indiana Pacers. The visiting Utah Jazz sent the struggling LA Lakers to their seventh loss in the past 11 games (117-110).DPA