LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul poured all his emotion from a long, difficult day into his night job, willing his team to victory while playing a game-high 37 minutes.
Paul had 28 points and 12 assists hours after attending a funeral in Oklahoma, and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way to beat San Antonio 105-86 on Thursday night, snapping the Spurs’ six-game winning streak coming out of the All-Star break.
About two hours before tipoff, Paul returned from Oklahoma City where he attended the funeral of Ingrid Williams, wife of Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, whom he knows from his days playing in New Orleans. She was killed in a car accident at age 44.
“It really put a lot of stuff in perspective,” Paul said. “At the end of the day, it is just basketball.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his son Austin, along with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan and David West also traveled to the funeral.
Reserve Jamal Crawford added 19 points and J.J. Redick had 17 points for the Clippers, who saw their 20-point lead whittled to five in the fourth quarter before they exploded offensively.
Paul scored 18 points in the quarter when he also set up some nifty assists on a 3-pointer by Crawford and a monster dunk by DeAndre Jordan, who also played 37 minutes.
“Chris’ leadership has been through the roof,” Crawford said. “Everybody stepped up.”
Tony Parker scored 14 points and West had 12 for the Spurs, whose 45-9 record is second-best in the NBA. Duncan had two points on 1-of-6 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes.
“The group did not play at a high enough level to win a road game,” West said. “We were not solid enough, and obviously we shot the ball badly in the first half. We just could not execute enough to keep pace with them.”
Cavaliers 106, Bulls 95
In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 25 points and barely missed a triple-double, Kevin Love added 15 points and 15 rebounds and the Cavaliers looked refreshed from the All-Star break with a victory over Chicago.
James had nine rebounds and nine assists in 35 minutes for the Cavs, who lost their first two matchups with the Bulls this season. But Chicago is broken, missing three key players because of injuries.
Derrick Rose scored 28 points and Pau Gasol had 14 for the Bulls. Wizards 103, Jazz 89
In Washington, Marcin Gortat had 22 points and 10 rebounds and John Wall added 17 points and 11 assists to help the Wizards beat Utah.
Rescheduled from Jan. 23 because of a snowstorm, the game was first of three in three days for Washington following the All-Star break.
Hours before the start, the Wizards acquired forward Markieff Morris from Phoenix at the trade deadline in an attempt to boost their playoff hopes.
Gordon Hayward scored 19 points and Rodney Hood added 18 points for the Jazz.
Few trades at deadline
New York — Jeff Green joined the Los Angeles Clippers and Markieff Morris moved to Washington in a largely tepid end to the NBA’s trade deadline day.
There were no deals involving Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, Al Horford, or any other All-Star caliber player whose named was floated in recent days.
Major moves will wait for the summer, when a soaring salary cap and a strong free agent class could provide the fireworks that never materialized Thursday.
Washington and most of the other teams battling for a spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference race may have improved, though the New York Knicks couldn’t come up with anything.
Houston, Cleveland, Chicago and Atlanta all made trades, though mostly minor ones. Teams interested in their top players not only had to weigh giving up assets versus signing them in the summer, but also whether they wanted to acquire a player who could be a free agent and command a huge salary when the cap increases to around $90 million in July.
Veteran players can earn 25 percent or more of the cap as their first-year salary.
Green went from Memphis to the Clippers, giving them another versatile forward while Blake Griffin is sidelined. Morris, unhappy this season in Phoenix, joins a disappointing Washington team that is 10th in the East.