Los Angeles, CA – Caron Butler paced all scorers with 22 points and Chris Paul handed out 11 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers dismissed the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center Tuesday night, 93-77.
Blake Griffin netted 16 points and DeAndre Jordan tallied 10 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who have won six straight games to pull even with the Memphis Grizzlies for fourth place in the Western Conference with one game left in the regular season.
Los Angeles, which has won the Pacific Division, is guaranteed at least the fourth seed, but it would have to go on the road to open the first round of the playoffs if it were to finish with a worse record than Memphis. It is also a game behind the Denver Nuggets and holds an outside chance of earning the third seed.
Will Barton led the way with 17 points for Portland, which extended its losing streak to 12 games. Joel Freeland added 13 points off the bench, Damian Lillard put up 12 points and eight assists and Victor Claver pitched in 11 points for the visitors.
"The guys played hard, but we were overmatched by the Clippers' depth," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.
The Clippers opened the game with six straight points in the first 65 seconds of action and led 28-24 at the end of the first quarter.
Sparked by a 15-0 second-quarter run, Los Angeles carried a 54-37 lead into intermission. The Clippers shot 48.8 percent from the field in the first half and corralled 10 offensive rebounds, while the Blazers made less than 37 percent of their field goal attempts.
Butler scored 18 of his 22 points in the third quarter as the Clippers' lead ballooned to 25, 82-57.
"My teammates got it to me. I found a rhythm and got some good looks," Butler said of his third-quarter barrage.
The Clippers sat their starters for the entire fourth quarter and were outscored 20-11 in the frame, but their lead was never in doubt.
LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle), Wesley Matthews (ankle) and Nicholas Batum (shoulder) were all sidelined with injuries for Portland ... Lillard set a Blazers franchise record for 3-pointers in a season with 183, surpassing Damon Stoudamire's old mark of 181 ... Los Angeles won the rebounding battle, 51-33 ... The Clippers never trailed in the game.