Clippers build big lead, beat Blazers 103-90

Associated Press Modified: November 9, 2012 at 2:01 am •  Published: November 9, 2012
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Chris Paul joked that the Trail Blazers' near-comeback against the Clippers made for good television.

"You always gotta make it interesting," he said with a smile.

But only to a point.

The Clippers built a 25-point lead in the first half then held off a second-half rally by the Blazers for a 103-90 victory on Thursday night. Jamal Crawford scored 25 points off the bench while Paul and DeAndre Jordan had 21 apiece.

"We all knew what we were supposed to do. We came out a little flat defensively in the third quarter, so we all got on each other," Jordan said. "We knew in the fourth quarter we had to come out and play."

Nicolas Batum had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who ultimately couldn't catch up.

Rookie Damian Lillard's pull-up jumper and Batum's 3-pointer helped Portland trim Los Angeles' lead to 75-69 late in the third quarter. Batum's driving layup at the buzzer made it 77-71 heading to the final period.

Portland closed to 86-82 on Meyers Leonard's alley-oop dunk from Batum, but the rally fizzled and Paul sent fans streaming for the doors when his jumper with 2:51 left extended the lead to 98-85.

"We can't wait until we're down 20 points to say, 'Man, we've got to play now,'" said Batum, who had success in the second half when he was put on Paul.

Clippers star Blake Griffin had 10 rebounds and seven points while playing with a sleeve covering his right arm for the third straight game because of fluid in his elbow.

"I wouldn't really say it's affecting my play. Once you're out there it's just a matter of playing," Griffin said. "It's gotten better each day so a few days off will be good for it but it's not something I'm worried about."

Los Angeles improved to 4-2 in its first game away from the Staples Center. They had a road win over the rival Lakers last Friday.

The victory over Portland came on the second night of back-to-back games. The Clippers handed San Antonio its first loss with a 106-84 victory on Wednesday night.

The Blazers (2-3) were coming off a 1-2 road trip that concluded with a 114-91 loss at Dallas on Monday.

Lillard said the fact that the Blazers came back from such a deficit was encouraging.

"We know when we play like that, with a lot of energy and when we're flying around, playing hard and moving the ball, we know that we can play with one of the best teams in the league," he said. "At the same time, we can't put ourselves in that hole, because we're not that level of team to be able to fight back every time."



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