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Clippers edge Bucks for third straight win

Jan 8, 2012 - 6:48 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Blake Griffin totaled 22 points and 14 rebounds, as the Los Angeles Clippers held off Milwaukee, 92-86, at Staples Center.

Caron Butler contributed 20 points in the third consecutive win for the Clippers, who have beaten the Bucks in 11 of the last 12 meetings in Los Angeles. Chauncey Billups, who scored 19, continued his impressive free throw shooting, making all seven of his attempts. He hasn't missed in 24 tries this season.

"We didn't play well in the first half. At halftime we made a few adjustments," Billups said. "Defensively, we picked it up. The shots we were missing in the first half, we made in the second half."

Chris Paul had nine points, seven assists and four steals in the win.

Brandon Jennings had 21 points, while Drew Gooden tallied 18 with 13 boards for the Bucks, losers of four in a row.

"Midway through the third quarter, they got into us," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "We're not playing well enough to win. Guys are playing hard, but our attention level needs improvement."

The turning point came in the third quarter, when the Clippers shot a sizzling 12-of-17 from the field. Butler scored 14 in the period, when the hosts turned a two-point deficit into a seven-point lead moving to the fourth.

"In the second half, we played better defense and shared the ball," Butler said. "We rushed it in the first half. We took it to another level in the second half and won the game."

A three-pointer from Jennings had the Bucks within 49-48 with 8:14 left in the third, but the Clippers then used a 14-2 run to create some breathing room.

The Bucks got back within four later in the quarter, but found themselves facing a 72-65 deficit going to the fourth. They never got closer than four in the last period.

It was an awful start for Milwaukee in the fourth installment of a five-game road trip. The Bucks shot 6-of-23 in the opening quarter, but trailed only 18-15 after 12 minutes.

Milwaukee bounced back and was in front by as many as six in the second quarter, the last time at 32-26 on a jumper from Shaun Livingston. The visitors claimed a 40-38 edge at the half.

Game Notes

Stephen Jackson also scored 18 for the Bucks, but he was 4-of-18 from the field...The Bucks shot 36.3 percent...LA went 26-of-40 at the foul line...Milwaukee finishes its road trip Sunday in Phoenix.