Griffin soars to spark Clippers victory

(Reuters) – Blake Griffin soared through the air in a spectacular third-quarter move that helped the Los Angeles Clippers take flight in a 103-86 triumph over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Griffin’s three-point play, in which he banked in a shot despite contact, gave the Clippers (29-11) a 10-point lead heading into the fourth and marked the beginning of an aerial display that carried the home team to a third consecutive win.

The All-Star forward finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, stealing the spotlight at the Staples Center with a collection of powerful second-half dunks.

His most memorable came late in the fourth when he took a pass from Chris Paul in the lane and threw down a massive right-hander over Phoenix’s Channing Frye, putting the exclamation point on the victory.

“(Paul) set me up perfectly,” Griffin told reporters. “I thought our defense got us out in the open court and we got some easy buckets. It was kind of an emotional game and we were having fun toward the end.”

After trailing at halftime by just two, Phoenix (25-26) went cold in the second half and could only watch as the Clippers piled up the points.

The Suns’ Marcin Gortat scored 23 points and Steve Nash added 15 assists but the visitors were doomed by their 37 percent shooting. They played a second consecutive game without starter Grant Hill, who is nursing a knee ailment.

Back-to-back defeats have slowed the Suns progress in the playoff race where they are two games out of a post-season spot.

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