Monday, January 2, 2012

Paul hits clutch layup to lead Clippers past Trailblazers

source: Reuters

Blake Griffin had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Paul hit a late driving layup to help the Los Angeles Clippers hand Portland its first loss of the season with a 93-88 triumph on Sunday night.

Caron Butler scored 19, Paul had 17 points and seven assists, and Mo Williams, starting for the second consecutive game for the injured Chauncey Billups, had 13 points, eight assists and four rebounds.

The Clippers used a big third quarter to lead by as many as 17 and hold off the Trail Blazers.

Portland had won nine of the last 10 games against the Clippers and was seeking its first 4-0 start in 12 seasons.

Sixth man Jamal Crawford led Portland with 23 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and nine rebounds, Nicolas Batum had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Wesley Matthews and Raymond Felton each scored 12.

The Clippers went on an 8-0 run to start the third quarter for a 52-36 lead and built it to 69-52 after three quarters before the Trail Blazers stormed back behind Batum and Crawford.

Griffin gave the Clippers a 90-81 lead but the Trail Blazers again fought back and Crawford’s free throws made it 90-86 with 1:57 remaining. Aldridge got Portland to 90-88 but Paul’s driving layup gave the Clippers a 92-88 lead with 9.3 seconds left