Other Local Sports

Clippers defeat former Wazzu star Thompson, Warriors 105-86

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Prize acquisition Chris Paul had 20 points and nine assists in his much-anticipated Clippers debut, Blake Griffin added 22 points and seven rebounds, and Los Angeles beat the Golden State Warriors 105-86 on Sunday night to spoil Mark Jackson's opener as a first-time coach.

Monta Ellis had 15 points and eight assists after his grandmother's death earlier in the day in Mississippi, and David Lee added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors. Golden State had cut the Clippers' lead to 78-77 with 9:35 left on Brandon Rush's 3-pointer before Los Angeles pulled away.

Klay Thompson, the Warriors' rookie first-round pick out of Washington State, scored seven points in 19 minutes off the bench.

Paul -- who nearly wound up with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers before the NBA nixed the proposal -- teamed with Chauncey Billups and Griffin for the first time since coming to the Clippers in a Dec. 14 trade from New Orleans.

"While we try to figure each other out and learn guys' hot spots and stuff like that, we want to win at the same time," Paul said. "We just keep talking about, 'We've just got to find a way to win, regardless of how it looks, how ugly the game is, we've got to find ways to win.' "

Billups scored 21 points with a key 3-pointer late for Los Angeles, which plays Wednesday at San Antonio before returning for four in a row and seven of eight at Staples Center.

Paul had an unspectacular first half: seven points on 1-for-6 shooting in 19 minutes. But he came on with several clutch baskets in the waning minutes to finish 7-of-12.

Each time the Warriors got close, Los Angeles found an answer. Andris Biedrins scored on a running hook with 6:51 left to cut the Clippers' lead to 82-81, then Mo Williams came through moments later. Caron Butler's 3-pointer with 4:55 remaining in the third quarter gave the Clippers the first double-digit lead of the game at 63-53.

Jackson, with his defense-focused approach, guaranteed the Warriors would be a playoff team after making the postseason once since 1994.

"This team is going to be the hardest-working team in the business," Jackson said.

His Warriors face a quick turnaround with Chicago in town tonight.