MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Blake Griffin had 20 points and 11 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 16 boards to help the Los Angeles Clippers extend their franchise-best start to the season with a 119-105 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
Chris Paul had 19 points and eight assists and J.J. Redick scored 18 points for the Clippers (9-1), who have the best record in the NBA. Los Angeles shot 52.6 percent and outscored the Timberwolves 21-10 in transition.
The Clippers have so far exhibited all the qualities of a team that can make a deep playoff run. Once a weakness, the bench has been a strength this season. And they entered the game as by far the best defensive team in the league, allowing a paltry 90.4 points per game.
”This is the best team I’ve had here,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ”But we got to keep doing it. We’ve got to keep getting better and performing. But this is a heck of a basketball team.”
In other games, Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points to lead San Antonio over Houston 106-100.
The Spurs avenged a 101-99 loss to the Rockets in San Antonio on Wednesday and improved to 5-0 on the road, where they have outscored opponents by an average of 12.8 points.
James Harden had a triple-double for a second straight game against the Spurs, finishing with 25 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, but also added seven costly turnovers.
Houston attempted 47 3s in the game, making 15 (31.9 percent).
In Miami, Gordon Hayward scored 25 points and Rodney Hood added 17 as Utah handed the Heat a fourth consecutive loss, 102-91.
Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Utah, which was without George Hill (right thumb) and Boris Diaw (right knee) again, then lost Derrick Favors to left knee soreness in the first quarter.
Hassan Whiteside had 15 points and 14 rebounds for Miami (2-6), which is off to its worst start since 2007-08.
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points and Norman Powell added 19 as the Raptors beat New York for the fourth straight time, 118-107.
DeRozan, the NBA’s leading scorer, had his eighth 30-plus-point game in nine starts this season, putting him in an exclusive club. In the last 50 years, Michael Jordan, World B. Free and Tiny Archibald have started a season registering 30-plus points in eight of the first nine games.
Boston’s Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points, including 19 over the final 14 minutes, as the Celtics beat Indiana 105-99.
Kelly Olynyk scored 16 and Amir Johnson had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics.
Indiana played without leading scorer Paul George, who sprained his left ankle in its loss at Philadelphia on Friday.
In Atlanta, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points and Kent Bazemore added 17 as the Hawks won their fourth straight game, beating Philadelphia 117-96
Dwight Howard, the NBA’s active leader in double-doubles, had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks.
Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points and Lou Williams added 21 as the Los Angeles Lakers won for the fifth time in six games, beating New Orleans 126-99.
D’Angelo Russell scored 22 and Nick Young added 15 points for the Lakers, who shot 55.3 percent overall and made 16 of 30 3-pointers.
Anthony Davis scored 34 for slumping New Orleans.
In Chicago, Jimmy Butler scored 37 points as the Bulls beat short-handed Washington 106-95.
Butler finished two points shy of his season high. He hit all 14 free throws, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a season-high nine assists.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and Michael Beasley added a season-high 19 to help Milwaukee beat Memphis 106-96.
In Denver, Tobias Harris scored 19 points and Marcus Morris had 17 as Detroit beat the Nuggets 106-95 for their first road win of the season.
And Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading Brooklyn to a 122-104 win over Phoenix, its first road victory of the season.