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Basketball: Clippers rout Sixers in Paul's return

The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated the return of point guard Chris Paul on Sunday with a 123-78 romp past the Philadelphia 76ers.

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated the return of point guard Chris Paul on Sunday with a 123-78 romp past the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 45-point margin of victory was the largest in Clippers club history. They set up their big win with a 46-point first quarter, coming out of the opening period with a 46-15 lead and never looking back.

Blake Griffin scored 26 points with 11 rebounds and six assists. His effort included a brace of spectacular alley-oop dunks -- with assists from Paul, who missed 18 games with a separated right shoulder.

In his first game since January 3 the star point guard played just under 23 minutes, scoring seven points and handing out eight assists with four steals.

Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and DeAndre Jordan added 10 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks for Los Angeles, who improved to 36-18.

Tony Wroten led the 76ers with 21 points and Thaddeus Young added 15 points and 11 rebounds, but Philadelphia, who lost their sixth straight, were never in it.

Los Angeles opened the game on a 13-0 scoring run. Paul admitted that after his time off, the frantic early pace was exhausting.

"The only way you know you're ready is by getting out here," he said. "I tried to stay in shape as best I could, but nothing is like game shape. That first three-four minutes, it was tough."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Paul's timing was still a little off, but his presence on the court energised his teammates.

"I think they were excited to have Chris back in the lineup," Rivers said. "You could see that the way guys were flying down the floor."

The Clippers led by as many as 54 points in the second half, 89-33, and they dealt the struggling Sixers their heaviest defeat of the season.

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