LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers looked like the team with the NBA’s best record in stretches. They were flat and sloppy at other times, and still pulled out the win.
Chris Paul had 19 points and 16 assists in beating the Dallas Mavericks 99-93 on Wednesday night, extending the Clippers’ franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games.
“We’ll take the win, but we know we can play better,” he said. “We came out a little flat, but it’s not going to be merry every night. It’s a good win for us to grit it out and fight it out against a tough team.”
Matt Barnes added 19 points off the bench, and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers (29-8), who took sole possession of the league’s best record from Oklahoma City with their third straight win overall.
“We’re not going to win pretty all the time,” Barnes said.
Vinny Del Negro earned his 100th victory in his 184th game as Clippers coach, making him the fastest to reach the century mark in franchise history. But he was in no mood to note the occasion, clearly irked by his team’s defensive breakdowns and its 21 turnovers.
“It wasn’t a very productive game,” Del Negro said. “We weren’t as consistent as we need to be. We had so many turnovers it was hard to get a rhythm offensively. When we’re struggling offensively, we got to lock down defensively.”
Darren Collison scored 22 points for Dallas. O.J. Mayo added 17 and Dirk Nowitzki had 15. At 13-23, the Mavs fell 10 games below .500 for the first time since March 30, 2000, two months after Mark Cuban bought the team. They’ve lost four in a row overall and three straight on the road, where they are 5-16.
“This is painful right now, to be losing like this when we were so close,” Shawn Marion said. “It seems like when we get right there, we’re going to do something to mess it up. We played a solid game, but it just seemed like the little things kept adding up and it killed us.”
The Clippers led the entire first half, fell behind by 10 points in third quarter and then regained the lead for the first time in the fourth on Paul’s steal and layup that made it 82-80.
They took the lead for good on Barnes’ 3-pointer that keyed an 8-0 run. Los Angeles forced former Clipper Chris Kaman into two misses while Collison airballed another shot in that stretch as the Clippers went ahead 90-83.
Nowitzki’s jumper pulled Dallas to 95-93. Griffin hit a turnaround jumper to give the Clippers a four-point lead before Collison missed a 3-pointer in the right corner.
“My performance was pretty poor. I need to do a much better job of taking care of the ball,” Griffin said. “But I love the way our second unit came in during the end of the third and got us back.”
Barnes grabbed a defensive rebound and Caron Butler came up with two big offensive boards off consecutive misses by Griffin and Paul with 39 seconds left. After taking two timeouts, Paul missed an 18-footer with 24 seconds left and Dallas called timeout. Collison scrambled looking for a shot before he passed to Vince Carter, who missed.
“Those offensive rebounds at the end just killed us,” Marion said.
THUNDER 106, TIMBERWOLVES 84
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 to help Oklahoma City overpower outmanned Minnesota.
After losing its last game on a buzzer-beater against a last-place Washington team saddled by injuries to its three top players, Oklahoma City left nothing to chance with the Timberwolves missing All-Star forward Kevin Love and four others.
The Thunder stretched the lead to 24 before pulling the starters with 5:44 to go.
Alexey Shved scored 18 points for Minnesota, which announced earlier in the day that Love would miss eight to 10 weeks after breaking his right hand for the second time.
SPURS 108, LAKERS 105
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored 24 points to help San Antonio hand slumping Los Angeles to its fifth straight loss.
Manu Ginobili added 19 points and Tiago Splitter and Stephen Jackson had 14 each for San Antonio, which has won 11 straight at home.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points, Metta World Peace added 23 and Earl Clark 22 for Los Angeles. Bryant was 10 for 24 from the field, missing a 3-pointer on his final attempt that would have tied the game. Clark missed a follow-up 3 off a long rebound.
Coming off a 125-112 loss at Houston on Tuesday, the Lakers fought until the final buzzer.
CELTICS 87, SUNS 79
BOSTON — Jeff Green scored 14 points, rookie Jared Sullinger added 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Boston recovered from a dreadful third quarter, rallying in the fourth to beat Phoenix.
The Celtics survived a scoring drought that spanned almost half of the third quarter, scoring just 14 in the period before regaining the lead and taking command against the road-weary Suns, who fell to 2-16 away from home with their 11th straight road loss.
Jason Terry added 13 points as Boston’s reserves outscored Phoenix’s 47-16. Kevin Garnett was the only Boston starter to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.
Jared Dudley scored 14 points and Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns.
BUCKS 104, BULLS 96
CHICAGO — Brandon Jennings scored 20 of his 35 points in the third quarter and Milwaukee beat Chicago for its second consecutive victory under interim coach Jim Boylan.
Mike Dunleavy had 16 points and Monta Ellis finished with 14 for Milwaukee, which made 10 of 22 3-point attempts. Larry Sanders grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who have dropped their last two games against Milwaukee at the United Center. The Bulls blew a 27-point lead in the third quarter as Milwaukee snapped a nine-game losing streak against Chicago with a 93-92 victory on Nov. 26.
Boozer has recorded a double-double in six consecutive games.
HORNETS 88, ROCKETS 79
NEW ORLEANS — Roger Mason scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to rally New Orleans to a victory over Houston.
Greivis Vasquez and Jason Smith each scored 17 points for the Hornets, who have won three in a row for the first time this season. Robin Lopez added 14 points for New Orleans.
James Harden scored 25 points for the Rockets, who had won 10 of 12. Harden, who was held to three points in the final quarter when the Rockets were outscored 28-10, was the only Houston player in double figures.
Eric Gordon struggled with five points on 2-of-12 shooting for the Hornets.
GRIZZLIES 94, WARRIORS 87
OAKLAND, Calif. — Zach Randolph had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 18 points and Memphis completed a 3-0 road trip with a victory over Golden State.
Mike Conley added 16 points and Marc Gasol finished with 12 points and nine rebounds to help Memphis make its quick West Coast swing more memorable. The Grizzlies (23-10) also won at Phoenix on Sunday and at Sacramento on Monday.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points and Klay Thompson had 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as the Warriors (22-12) lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
The Warriors were coming off their most lopsided loss of the season, 115-89 to the Clippers.
NUGGETS 108, MAGIC 105
DENVER — Kenneth Faried scored 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to help Denver rally for a win over slumping Orlando.
Ty Lawson also finished with 19 points, including a three-point play with 1:27 remaining that gave the Nuggets the lead for good and sent them to their third straight win.
Orlando just can’t get on track since Glen Davis went out with a sprained left shoulder, dropping a 10th straight game in the big man’s absence. He currently isn’t with the team but it was hoped he might rejoin them at some point during the current four-game trip.
Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 20 points and Arron Afflalo added 12 against his former team.
JAZZ 112, BOBCATS 102
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Al Jefferson had 26 points and eight rebounds to lead Utah to its fourth win in five games with a victory over Charlotte.
The Bobcats had no answer for the 6-foot-10 Jefferson, who went 11 of 15 from the field.
Paul Millsap chipped in with 19 points and Gordon Hayward was 4 of 5 from 3-point range for 14 points as the Jazz made light work of the Bobcats’ zone defense, shooting 54 percent from the field.
Ben Gordon led six Bobcats in double figures, scoring 20 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker each had 14 points for Charlotte.
RAPTORS 90, 76ERS 72
TORONTO — Amir Johnson had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jose Calderon added 14 points and 11 assists, and Toronto beat Philadelphia, sending the slumping 76ers to their fifth straight loss.
Landry Fields set season highs with 10 points and 11 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 and Ed Davis had 17 for the Raptors, who had lost six of their previous seven meetings with Philadelphia, including three straight.
Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young each scored 16 points, and Evan Turner had 10 as the Sixers lost for the 13th time in their last 16 games. Philadelphia has played 12 of its past 16 on the road, winning just twice.
CAVALIERS 99, HAWKS 83
CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter to lead injury-riddled Cleveland over Atlanta.
Irving’s big night came at a perfect time for Cleveland, which had lost five of six overall and six straight at home. The margin of victory was Cleveland’s biggest of the season.
Josh Smith scored 17 points to lead Atlanta, which has lost a season-worst four straight.
Alonzo Gee scored 15 points for Cleveland, while Tristan Thompson added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Rookie Tyler Zeller scored 11 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds.