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Blazers defeat Clippers 110-102

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 17, 2014 at 1:40 am •  Published: April 17, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Leaving the Trail Blazers' locker room following the regular-season finale, Wesley Matthews was wished well in the playoffs.

"Now the fun starts," he said.

The Blazers wrapped up the regular season with a 110-104 victory Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Clippers, with both teams resting key players in advance of the postseason.

Will Barton had a career-high 23 (points for the Blazers, who sat All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Seeded fifth in the Western Conference, Portland will face the Rockets in a first-round series starting Sunday in Houston.

Portland ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak. They won 54 games, their most since the 2008-09 season, and bettered their record by 21 wins over last season for the biggest turnaround in franchise history.

"We've got to stay in our game and do what we've been doing all season, staying together as a team," Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. "We've done that all year, through ups and downs. And now we need to do it in the playoffs.

Jamal Crawford had 34 points for the Clippers, who didn't play Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The team set the franchise record for most regular season wins (57) the night before with a victory over Denver.

Going into the game the Clippers had a chance to secure the No. 2 seed in the West. But when Oklahoma City defeated Detroit earlier Wednesday, the Clippers sewed up the third seed and will face Golden State in the opening round starting Saturday.

Paul, Griffin and J.J. Redick did not make the trip to Portland.

The team had already announced that Griffin would not play when the league suspended him for the game because he had accumulated 16 technical fouls. Griffin was handed the technical in Tuesday night's 117-105 win against the Nuggets.

DeAndre Jordan started but he played less than two minutes before he headed to the bench.

"We wanted to win. I hope I didn't send the wrong message to you guys that because we sent guys home we weren't going to play hard and play to win," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We want to win the game. It's a competition no matter who is out on the floor."

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