Trail Blazers 109, Clippers 99

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Zach Randolph is learning to be more effective by sharing the ball more. It’s paying off for the Portland Trail Blazers, who have won a season-high four in a row.

Randolph had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead the Trail Blazers over the Los Angeles Clippers 109-99 Friday night.

Randolph, the only player in the NBA averaging more than 25 points and 10 rebounds, excelled at moving the ball around and passing out of double-teams, adding an aspect to his game that he’s lacked in the past.

“Guys are getting open looks and when they double-team me I’ve got to make them pay,” Randolph said.

Travis Outlaw scored 15 points and Jarrett Jack had 14 for the Blazers.

Elton Brand had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers. Shaun Livington added 16 points and 10 assists.

The Clippers lost despite the return of Corey Maggette (knee and foot) and Sam Cassell (left foot). Los Angeles shot 59 percent for the game but fell behind in the third quarter as Brand scored just four points after halftime.

“We shoot 59 percent from the floor and lose. That’s says it all,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.

Ime Udoka had 13 points for the Blazers and Juan Dixon scored 12.

Maggette, who had missed the past two games, had 18 points in a reserve role. Quinton Ross had 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting for the Clippers.

The Blazers, who shot 51 percent from the field, missed their season-high point total by one.

The Clippers shot 67.6 percent in the first half, but trailed 55-53 at the break.

Portland led 81-72 after Outlaw’s layup beat the third quarter horn. Los Angeles was still within nine after a free throw by Tim Thomas, but Dixon responded by knocking down a 14-footer and Udoka hit a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 102-88.

Jack gave the Blazers the biggest lead of the game at 16 with a jumper with 3:45 to go.

“Travis Outlaw was really the difference tonight,” Maggette said. “He scored 15 points in 18 minutes. That’s huge for them. Juan Dixon hit some shots and really gave them a lift. We just didn’t play defense tonight and we need to improve that.”

Randolph, who had microfracture knee surgery in March 2005, is making the case for the All-Star team with the best season of his career.

Blazer coach Nate McMillan said the improvement has come as Randolph has fully bought into the system, playing better defense and trusting his teammates.

“He seems to be having fun out there and not trying to carry the team by himself,” McMillan said.


Doctors cleared Blazers rookie Brandon Roy (heel) to begin practicing Sunday. He is expected to play Wednesday. … The Clippers are 1-8 on the road this season. … Portland’s win was its first in six games against Los Angeles. … Cassell played 11 minutes and had six points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 LA Clippers
E. Brand E. Brand
9-14,  23 Pts
10 Rebs, 1 Assists
Z. Randolph Z. Randolph
9-21,  26 Pts
7 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders



Friday, Dec 15