The Los Angeles Clippers earned a 97-85 victory over the lowly Sacramento Kings at Staples Center, setting a new franchise record with their 12th straight win.
Star point guard Chris Paul shined on Friday night, scoring 24 points and dishing out 13 assists as the former laughingstocks continued to consolidate themselves as one of the top squads in the NBA.
The Clippers appeared to put the game out of reach when they built a 17-point lead in the third quarter, but the Kings battled back with a 16-5 run and then kept the game close until the final minutes.
Paul was red-hot from 3-point range, hitting 5-of-7 from behind the arc overall and two in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin recorded a double-double of his own with 21 points and 13 rebounds and swingman Matt Barnes came off the bench to contribute 13 key points.
Reserve swingman Jimmer Fredette was one of five Kings players to score in double figures, notching 16 points in just 23 minutes of play. Reserve guard Isaiah Thomas and starting shooting guard Marcus Thornton added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
With the victory, the Clippers ran their record to 20-6 and broke the previous franchise win-streak record that had stood for nearly 40 years. They moved to within one game of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the best record in the Western Conference and tied that team for the NBA's longest winning streak this season.
The previous franchise mark of 11 straight wins was set in the 1974-75 season when the club was based in Buffalo. Current Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro was just eight years old then and only one player on the current team's roster - injured forward Grant Hill - was alive.
That Buffalo Braves team was coached by Jack Ramsay and had a roster that included Bob McAdoo, Garfield Heard, Randy Smith, Jim McMillian, Jack Marin and Bob Weiss.
The Clippers, who were located in San Diego from 1978-1984, was named the "worst franchise in sports history" by Sports Illustrated magazine in 2000.
In other action on a busy night in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls won a heated contest against the New York Knicks 110-106.
Two Knicks stars, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, were ejected from the technical foul-filled game, as was head coach Mike Woodson. Joakim Noah got the boot for the Bulls after an altercation with Chandler.
The Bulls held off a furious rally by the Knicks, who outscored Chicago 45-27 over the final 12 minutes at Madison Square Garden.
It was the second win for the Bulls this season over the Knicks, who slipped to a few percentage points behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Philadelphia 76ers routed the Atlanta Hawks 99-80, the Toronto Raptors edged the Orlando Magic 93-90, the Detroit Pistons trounced the Washington Wizards 100-68 and the Milwaukee Bucks topped the Boston Celtics 99-94 in overtime.
The Indiana Pacers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-89, the Memphis Grizzlies overcame the Dallas Mavericks 92-82, the San Antonio Spurs slid past the New Orleans Hornets 99-94 and the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 115-100 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. EFE