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Clippers finish December in perfect fashion

Clippers guard Chris Paul goes up for a shot as Jazz forward Derrick Favors defends. Paul scored 19 points and added nine assists. (Associated Press)
Clippers guard Chris Paul goes up for a shot as Jazz forward Derrick Favors defends. Paul scored 19 points and added nine assists. (Associated Press)

NBA: Jamal Crawford scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the host Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 107-96 on Sunday night for their 17th consecutive victory, becoming the third team in NBA history to record a perfect month.

Caron Butler led the Clippers with 29 points, making all six of his 3-pointers. Chris Paul added 19 points and nine assists to help them maintain the league’s best record at 25-6.

The Clippers went 16-0 in December to join the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs and 1971-72 Lakers as the only teams to go undefeated over a month. Their franchise-record winning streak is the longest since Boston won 19 in a row four years ago.

Al Jefferson scored 30 points – one off his season high – to lead Utah, which fell victim for the third time during the Clippers’ streak. The Jazz lost 116-114 on Friday when the Clippers rallied from 19 points down, and they were beaten 105-104 on Dec. 3, both times at home.

Utah closed to within four with 5:55 left, but that was as close as the Jazz got.

The Clippers made 9 of 10 free throws down the stretch and their defense held Utah to one field goal in the final 3:38.

Los Angeles stretched its lead to 71-59 in the third quarter, when Butler scored 10 of their first 17 points.

Thomas stars in Kings’ victory: Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points and made one of Sacramento’s two four-point plays in the second half as the Kings handed the Boston Celtics their third straight lopsided loss on a California road swing, 118-96.

The Celtics have faced the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State and Sacramento and got outscored by 69 points in losing all three.

Even the return to the lineup of star point guard Rajon Rondo couldn’t help the Celtics. Rondo, who missed Saturday’s loss at Golden State with a bruised right thigh and hip, missed his first five shots and finished with two points and 10 assists.

Boston’s Paul Pierce scored 20 points to give him 23,189 in his career, passing Adrian Dantley for 23rd place all-time.

Pistons blow lead, still win: Tayshaun Prince made two free throws with 10.9 seconds left to give host Detroit a 96-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks after the Pistons blew a 14-point lead.

Spurs down slumping Mavericks: Tony Parker had 21 points and nine assists and the San Antonio Spurs handed the host Dallas Mavericks their sixth straight loss, 111-86.

Elorriaga hits 10 3s in Boise State win

Men’s basketball: Jeff Elorriaga made a school-record 10 3-pointers and scored 30 points to lead host Boise State (10-2) to a 105-49 win over Corban (5-8) in a nonconference game.

Elorriaga was 10 of 16 from 3-point range, breaking the previous record of nine set by Abe Jackson on Dec. 10, 2000. He had eight 3-pointers at halftime.

Duke holds Monmouth to three points in half

Women’s basketball: Tricia Liston scored 15 points for No. 4 Duke (11-0), and Monmouth tied a Division I record with three points in the first half of a 73-32 rout at Durham, N.C. Monmouth (3-8) matched the NCAA’s halftime scoring mark set in 2003 by Savannah State against Florida State and equaled by Tennessee State two years ago against Georgia Tech.

Bowling Green routs No. 15 Dayton: Alexis Rogers scored 20 points as host Bowling Green (Ohio) handed 15th-ranked Dayton its first defeat of the season, 65-40.

Rogers, a junior forward, has 83 points in her last four games for the Falcons (9-3), who have won six in a row and avenged a 69-38 loss at Dayton (12-1) last season.

Canada beats U.S. 2-1 at junior worlds

Hockey: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome scored in the first period, and Canada beat the United States 2-1 to advance to the next round at the junior ice hockey world championships in Ufa, Russia.

Jacob Trouba scored for the U.S. The Americans need to beat Slovakia on Monday in Group B to move on.

Canada faces Russia today to determine which team gets a bye into the semifinals.

The 19-year-old Nugent-Hopkins was the first pick of the 2011 NHL draft by Edmonton. The center had 52 points in 62 games for the Oilers last season.

Slovakia stayed alive by beating Germany 2-1 on an overtime power-play goal by Peter Ceresnak.

In Group A, Finland beat Switzerland 5-4 on a shootout goal by Markus Granlund, who also scored twice in regulation.

The Czech Republic defeated Latvia 4-2 to advance to the next round. Martin Frk scored twice.

U.S. defeats South Africa at Hopman Cup

Tennis: Venus Williams and John Isner led the United States to a 2-1 victory over South Africa at the Hopman Cup mixed team competition at Perth, Australia.

Williams rallied to defeat 60th-ranked Chanelle Scheepers 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

After Kevin Anderson beat Isner 7-6 (0), 7-6 (5), the match came down to mixed doubles. Williams and Isner beat the South Africans 6-3, 6-2 to clinch victory.

• Djokovic retains exhibition title in Abu Dhabi: Novak Djokovic retained his title at the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, by rallying past Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4.

Richardson wins again at long-track skating

Miscellany: Heather Richardson won her third skating title in three days at the U.S. Long Track Championships in Kearns, Utah, setting a national record in winning the 1,500 meters. Brian Hansen won the men’s race.

Richardson’s time of 1 minute, 53.84 seconds at the Utah Olympic Oval lowered the old mark of 1:54.19 set by former Olympian Jennifer Rodriguez in 2009.

Hansen won his first 1,500 national title in 1:44.96.

Police make arrest in player’s death: A college football player in Virginia found fatally stabbed is being mourned, and Fairfax County police have made an arrest in his killing.

Authorities have arrested 22-year-old Johnny Bonilla, of Gainesville, in the death of Zavier O. Stringfellow.

Stringfellow played football for Ferrum College in southwestern Virginia.