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Clippers rout Pelicans after snafu postpones Granger's debut

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The Canadian Press
3/2/2014 2:01:41 AM
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LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul had 21 points and eight assists, Blake Griffin added 20 points before both All-Stars sat out the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers breezed to a 108-76 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.

Nine-year veteran Danny Granger did not make his debut with the Clippers because of a technicality on the team's active list, which is signed by coach Doc Rivers before every game and relayed to the officials.

Granger's name was printed by hand by a member of the public relations staff under the heading: "Updated Roster Additions," but the number on the sheet was not circled along with the other active players by the required deadline of 6:30 p.m. local time, which is mandatory.

As a result, referee Bill Spooner ruled Granger ineligible and instructed him to change back into street clothes. The Clippers didn't need their newest small forward in the wire-to-wire victory, which extended their winning streak to four games and increased their Pacific Division lead to four games over Golden State.

It was the fourth game this season in which the Clippers' winning margin was 30 or more points.

Tyreke Evans had 22 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans. But Anthony Davis picked up three fouls in his first 7 minutes on the court and finished with eight points, three nights after spraining his left shoulder in a loss against Dallas.

Los Angeles opened a 27-11 lead while New Orleans missed 17 of its first 20 shots. Former Clipper Eric Gordon, who went to New Orleans in the multiplayer deal that brought Paul to Los Angeles, started 0 for 8 before ending the drought with a short running bank shot. By then, the Pelicans were staring at a 43-24 deficit with 5:26 left in the first half. They shot 3 for 22 from 3-point range and committed 22 turnovers that were converted into 33 Clippers points.

The Pelicans, buried in last place in the Southwest Division and 10 1/2 games behind fourth-place Memphis, are 8-19 since Jan. 4, when they began an eight-game losing streak at Indiana. They've dropped their last seven, including a 123-110 decision to the Clippers at home last Monday.

It was the second straight start for Evans, who had been used exclusively in a reserve role this season before Monday's 116-104 loss at Phoenix. He was primarily a starter at the shooting guard spot during his first four NBA seasons with Sacramento, after getting picked fourth overall in the 2009 draft.

One day after the Pelicans made it official that point guard Jrue Holiday will miss the remainder of the season following surgery in Los Angeles to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia, backup Brian Roberts had four points and missed seven of eight shots. New Orleans is 8-17 since Roberts replaced Holiday in the starting lineup.

The Clippers also played without Jamal Crawford, who strained his left calf during Wednesday's 101-93 win over Houston; and J.J. Redick, who hasn't played since Feb. 3 because of a bulging disc in his lower back.

NOTES: Granger signed with Los Angeles on Friday after his contract was bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers, just six days after the 76ers acquired him from Indiana. His Clippers debut will now be Tuesday night at Phoenix. ... Pelicans G Austin Rivers, the son of the Clippers' coach, had 19 points off the bench. ... Granger, who turns 31 in April, was born in New Orleans and played his high school ball in Metairie, La. He was limited to only five games last season because of patellar tendinosis in his right knee, and was sidelined for almost two months at the start of this season because of a left calf strain. ... The Clippers have had an least one player with double-digit rebounds in 59 of their first 61 games and each of the last 38. ... Los Angeles has won nine of its last 12 meetings with New Orleans after losing 14 in a row. Each of their Pelicans' previous two losses to the Clippers was by 13-point margins.

Chris Paul (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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