Lakers clipped

Clippers’ forward Matt Barnes (right) and guard Jordan Crawford smother Lakers forward Earl Clark during last night’s win.
Clippers’ forward Matt Barnes (right) and guard Jordan Crawford smother Lakers forward Earl Clark during last night’s win.

LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Paul added 24 and 12 assists at the Staples Centre last night as the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers swept the Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 for the first time since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981.

The 1974-75 team, known as the Buffalo Braves, had the franchise’s only other sweep of the Lakers.Fans chanted, “Sweep! Sweep!” in the closing seconds.

Sterling accepted a congratulatory handshake from a fan after the game.”It’s always good to sweep a team in your division, in the West,” said Griffin, savouring the first division title of his young career.

“I’m proud of how we won the game a little bit differently. We kept up a nice tempo the whole game.”

Jamal Crawford had 20 points off the bench, DeAndre Jordan had 13 rebounds and Caron Butler scored 14 points for the Clippers, who knew that even if they lost, they could have clinched later yesterday if Utah won at Golden State. Utah defeated the Warriors 97-90.As the division winner, the Clippers are guaranteed a top-four seed but will only open the playoffs with home-court advantage if they finish the season with a better record than the team in fifth, which currently is Memphis.

Dwight Howard scored 25 points, including 9 of 13 free throws, for the Lakers, who played without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace. Kobe Bryant added 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and Pau Gasol had 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers’ three-game winning streak ended.

Playing as the home team, the Clippers dealt their Staples Center co-tenant’s playoff hopes a serious blow.

The Lakers fell into a tie with Utah for the eighth and final playoff berth in the West. If the Jazz won later, they would move a half-game ahead of the Lakers, who have five regular-season games left. The Jazz own the tiebreaker with the Lakers.

Other scores: Knicks 125, Thunder 120; Wizards 96, Celtics 107; Magic 85, Cavaliers 91; Grizzlies 89, Kings 87; Bulls 85, Pistons 99; Jazz 97, Warriors 90; Hornets 95, Suns 92; Mavericks 96, Trail Blazers 91.

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