With their reserve players sparking play in the final quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away from the pesky Atlanta Hawks to end a tightly contested game with a flourish and an 89-76 win.
Backup guard Eric Bledsoe contributed 12 points, Jamal Crawford 11 and Matt Barnes 10 as the Clippers outscored the Hawks 24-16 in the fourth period to claim their third consecutive victory.
Twice All-Star Blake Griffin scored a game-high 16 points and Chris Paul weighed in with 15 points and eight assists for Los Angeles but they were indebted to their bench players after shooting only 45.7 per cent from the field in the first half.
Forward Josh Smith led Atlanta with 13 points and both Al Horford and Lou Williams added 11 as the Hawks slipped to 2-3 for the season. The Clippers improved to 5-2.
Playing in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,060, the Clippers made an erratic start with a rash of turnovers and poor shooting from the field to trail 19-18 after the first quarter.
There were seven lead changes in the second period but a late scoring burst by point guard Paul, who followed a two-point jump shot with a driving layup, helped Los Angeles edge ahead 39-37 at halftime.
Guard Kyle Korver's three-pointer gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the night at 50-45 but the Clippers finished the third quarter with an unanswered six-point run to go 65-60 up.
The energised Clippers tightened their grip at both ends of the court, and a Bledsoe three-pointer padded their lead to 79-65 with 6.29 minutes left, and there was no way back for Atlanta.
Wayne Ellington scored a career-best 25 points off the bench, including seven three-pointers, as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Miami Heat 104-86.
Rudy Gay also poured in 21 points as the Grizzlies improved their record to 5-1, which constitutes their best start to a season in franchise history.
Chris Bosh led the Heat, whose four-game win streak was brought to an end, with 22 points while LeBron James had 20.
The Los Angeles Lakers continued to do the business for interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff as they beat the Sacramento Kings 103-90.
Dwight Howard led the way with 23 points and 18 rebounds as the Lakers moved to 2-0 since Mike Brown was fired on Friday.
Russell Westbrook scored 27 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-91 while Brooklyn Nets were 82-74 victors over the Orlando Magic.
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