LeBron leads Cavs into showdown with Clippers

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers face another challenge Friday with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers set to invade Staples Center.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday's 100-94 victory over the tough Portland Trail Blazers had a playoff atmosphere. Jamal Crawford scored 25 points, Chris Paul supplied 23 points with 10 assists and Blake Griffin posted 18 points in the win.

DeAndre Jordan totaled 17 points with 18 rebounds for Los Angeles, which snapped its five-game road losing streak. The Clippers were coming off a 6-3 homestand and have scored 100 or more points six times in the last 10 games. They used 10-3 run for an 89-88 lead and held Portland to 6-of-26 from beyond the arc.

"This was one of our better wins," said Crawford, who hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:55 remaining. "I'm not sure if it's our best but we showed a lot of resolve."

The Clippers are back home where they have a 17-6 record and sit fifth in the NBA in scoring with 106.2 ppg. LA is third in field goal percentage (47.2) and will visit the Sacramento Kings Saturday night.

Paul is 13 assists from 6,500 in his career for the Clippers, who are 11-7 against Eastern Conference opponents.

In other team news, the Clippers acquired Austin Rivers from Boston as part of a three-team trade. Rivers is the son of Glenn "Doc" Rivers and will add to the Clippers' talented guard play.

Cleveland will close out a five-game road trip Friday and halted a six-game slide with Thursday's 109-102 triumph over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. James made 12-of-24 from the field en route to 36 points and Kyrie Irving scored 22.

Kevin Love had 17 points and J.R. Smith tallied 14, as the Cavaliers won for just the second time in the previous 11 games and shot 46.8 percent for the game. The Cavaliers held the Lakers to 14 points in the third quarter and Bryant collected 19 points and a career-high 17 assists.

"We locked in defensively in the second half," Cavs coach David Blatt said. "We got stops and we took care of the basketball. We're not out of the mud yet, but we're going to be."

The Cavaliers, who have a 5-11 record against the West, are 9-11 on the road and will play the next four games at home versus the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Irving has scored at least 21 points in nine of his last 11 games, posting an average of 23.3 points over that span.

Cleveland and Los Angeles will play the first of two meetings this season and are slated to clash Feb. 5 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs and Clippers split two games a season ago, while Cleveland is 12-3 in the last 15 encounters.