CLIPPERS 107, HORNETS 98: Chris Paul had 33 points and 13 assists, Randy Foye scored 24 and Blake Griffin had 21 points and 15 rebounds as the Clippers kept pace with the Lakers for third place in the West with a victory over visiting New Orleans.
The Clippers (40-24), who are a half-game behind the Lakers (41-24), finish at Atlanta (Tuesday) and at New York (Wednesday). The Lakers close at Sacramento on Thursday.
New Orleans' Eric Gordon, the ex-Clipper who was a part of the Paul trade, played for the first time against his former team after missing most of the season after surgery on his right knee. He led the Hornets with 17 points.
After trailing 57-52 at halftime, the Hornets outscored the Clippers 32-17 in the third quarter for an 84-74 lead.
But back-to-back 3-pointers by Foye cut the Hornets’ lead to 91-90 with 4:05 left. The Clippers used an 8-2 run for a 98-93 lead, including a 3-pointer by Foye and three free throws by Paul. The Clippers made seven free throws in the final 1:40, six by Paul, to hold off the Hornets.
For the Hornets (20-44), Al-Farouq Aminu had 14 points and eight rebounds. Jason Smith had 13 points and eight rebounds. Greivis Vasquez scored 12 and Lance Thomas 10.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Clippers starting center Caron Butler (left hip contusion) left in the first quarter after falling into a group of photographers and did not return. … The Clippers made 34 of 43 free throws, but shot just 7 of 28 from 3-point range.