- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - When the Los Angeles Clippers lost All-Star Chris Paul to a separated shoulder, they turned to Blake Griffin for leadership.

And he has responded by stepping up his play.

Griffin had 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 112-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. The Clippers improved to 7-3 since Paul, who was averaging 19.6 points and 11.2 assists, was injured.

Blake doesn’t run from a challenge,” Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve seen.”

The Clippers enjoyed a strong outside game, opening up Griffin on the inside, and he finished with his 27th double-double.

“(I want to be) a leader for us, knocking down shots and being able to mix up my game, going inside when I felt the need to and going outside when I needed to,” Griffin said.

Crawford added 19 points for the Clippers, who had six players score in double figures and shot 54 percent from the field - including 13 for 21 on 3-pointers. DeAndre Jordan added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

“They were open, the right guy was taking them, all of our 3-point shooters,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They made them, and that opened it up for Blake.”

Carlos Boozer scored 22 points for the Bulls, who snapped a three-game winning streak.

“I don’t think any aspect of our defense was any good,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

The Clippers have won four straight against the Bulls, and improved to 3-2 on their seven-game trip.

Chicago cut the lead to eight in the third quarter but Darren Collison answered with two quick baskets and the Clippers led 92-80 heading to the fourth.

Los Angeles got off to a strong start. The Clippers shot 10 for 14 on 3s and finished 64.1 percent overall from the field in the first half to take a 68-55 lead at halftime.

Jordan’s dunk gave the Clippers a 60-39 lead, their largest margin, with 3:52 left before halftime.

Los Angeles was 7 for 8 from beyond the arc in the first quarter to set a franchise record for 3s in a quarter. The Clippers led 41-26 after shooting 73.7 percent in the period.

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