It's been almost two years since the Los Angeles Clippers lost five straight games. They could reach that mark Sunday night in the back end of a home-and-home set with the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.
The Clippers have dropped four in a row twice this season (Nov. 21-26) and are coming off Saturday's 101-100 loss at Portland's Rose Garden. Playing without All-Star point guard Chris Paul for a third straight game due to a bruised right kneecap, the Clippers were led by Blake Griffin's 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Paul is out indefinitely.
Jamal Crawford scored 19 points off the bench for L.A., which was outscored 10-0 to close out the game and still leads the Pacific Division by five games ahead of Golden State.
"Tough pill to swallow," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro told NBA.com. "We had an opportunity to steal this one and we couldn't convert down the stretch."
Crawford had a chance for the win, but his shot was off.
"I thought it was in," Crawford said. "I got the space I wanted, everything."
The Clippers held a 56-32 points in the paint advantage.
Los Angeles will put its 19-5 home record on the line Sunday and hasn't lost five in a row since Feb. 22-28, 2011. The Clippers will head east after their tilt with Portland to start an eight-game odyssey.
The Trail Blazers have won two in a row since a six-game drought and received a triple-double from Nicolas Batum on Saturday. Batum tallied 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, while Damian Lillard added 20 points for Portland, which went 2-3 on the homestand and played tough defense down the stretch.
"To end the game on a 10-0 run was a testament to what we've done for most of the season," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We don't quit. We bounce back. We're resilient."
Batum recorded his first career triple-double on Monday against the Washington Wizards. Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 and 12 points, respectively, in the win over the Clips.
Portland is 7-13 away from the Rose City and will host the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night.
The Blazers lost at home to the Clippers, 103-90, back on Nov. 8 this season, but is still 11-5 in the previous 16 meetings between the teams. The Clippers have won two in a row as the host in this series.