Clippers invade Rip City to take on Blazers
The Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers invade Star LaMarcus Aldridge for a second consecutive night.
The Clips returned to Staples Center last night after a successful Grammy Road Trip and blitzed the lowly Washington Wizards, 102-84. Blake Griffin had 23 points and 15 rebounds in that one as Los Angeles beat the Wizards for a seventh straight time.
Caron Butler added 21 points and Chris Paul scored 16 with nine assists in the win, including an alley-oop pass to DeAndre Jordan for a one-handed dunk that punctuated LA's ninth victory in 12 games overall.
"We didn't play well at the start and they did," said Paul. "We need to come out with more energy and that starts with me."
The Clippers, who lead the Lakers by two games in the Pacific, are 7-6 as the road team on the season.
The Blazers, meanwhile, persevered without Aldridge, who sprained his left ankle in Portland's 124-109 home loss to Washington on Tuesday, edging Golden State, 93-91, in Oakland last night. Jamal Crawford made the game-winning free throws in the final minute of that one as Portland survived a seesaw battle.
Gerald Wallace chipped in 24 points, Nicolas Batum had 17 and Crawford finished with 14 for Portland, which snapped a two-game skid. Marcus Camby posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
"They were not going to lose this game," Blazers head coach Nate McMillan said. "Our execution was pretty good coming down the stretch."
The Clippers have lost six straight and 20 of their last 24 overall in the Pacific Northwest, including a 105-97 setback on Jan. 10. Portland, however, has lost three straight in the Rose Garden after starting the season a gaudy 11-1 on its home floor.