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Clippers barely need Paul back to destroy 76ers

Clippers, Griffin destroy Sixers in Paul's comeback
Clippers, Griffin destroy Sixers in Paul's comeback
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers were lambs to the slaughter against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 9. The Sixers were already at a disadvantage, as they got to see Chris Paul returning to the Clippers for the first time in weeks. Yet the Clippers didn't need Paul to stay on top in the Pacific Division, and they barely needed him to humiliate the Sixers by 123-78.

Stat wise, Paul didn't do that much in his comeback, as he only had seven points in 22 minutes. Regardless, he also had eight assists and four steals while the rest of the Clippers caught fire for him. Whether they were particularly inspired by Paul's return, or whether the Sixers were more putrid than usual, the Clippers came out with one of the biggest opening runs of the season.

The game was over when Los Angeles ended the first quarter with a 46-15 lead. However, Philadelphia wasn't allowed to leave for another 36 minutes of playing time. If anything, things got even worse for the Sixers, as they went into halftime with a 69-30 deficit and were down by as much as 89-33 in the third.

The final 45 point margin of victory was the biggest in Clippers history, although much of Clippers history has been unremarkable until the last few years. Thanks in part to Paul, Los Angeles now has a championship contender that isn't the Lakers for once, although the Clippers proved to have more on their side than Paul while he was gone.

If the Clippers can turn around after decades of futility, the Sixers can certainly get over this current low period. However, the wait for the NBA draft lottery and free agency is getting longer and longer, while Philadelphia sinks lower and lower. This was among the lowest periods yet, although the Sixers keep finding new lows every week or so.

On this night, the Sixers were mere spectators -- and were barely even that -- as the Clippers became whole again. In fact, Philadelphia made this Los Angeles team look like the champion Lakers of old, although even they rarely embarrassed opponents quite like this.