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Clippers 122, Trail Blazers 117

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Forward Blake Griffin scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Portland Trail Blazers for a 122-117 victory at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

Griffin connected on 13 of 21 field goals to lead the Clippers (37-18) to their third straight win and drop Portland (36-17) to its second loss in a row and six in its last eight. Los Angeles won four in a row over Portland at Staples.

Griffin scored 30 or more points in four of his last five games.

Guard Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and point guard Chris Paul had 20 points, 12 assists and three steals. Paul's basket midway through the fourth quarter allowed him to top 11,000 points for his career.

Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 25 points and point guard Damian Lillard added 21 points and five assists despite being hampered by foul trouble in the second half. Guard Wes Matthews scored 15 points for the Trail Blazers.

Portland was playing for the second time in as many nights, coming off a 98-95 loss at home Tuesday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the Trail Blazers showed little sign of weariness.

Aldridge pulled Portland to within 118-117 on a basket inside with about two minutes remaining. But a steal by Paul led to an ally-oop dunk by center DeAndre Jordan, who finished with 14 points, off a pass from forward Matt Barnes for a 120-117 lead with 1:25 remaining. Two free throws by Crawford accounted for the game's final points.

The lead exchanged 19 times in the first half and neither club led by more than seven. Fittingly, the two teams finished tied at 61 at the break. Griffin scored 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting as Los Angeles made 60 percent (27 of 45) of its shots compared to 53.5 percent (23 of 43) for the Trail Blazers. Aldridge hit 6 of 10 attempts for 13 points, while Lillard scored 12 -- all in the second quarter -- by hitting 5 of 7 shots in the half.

This was the second meeting between the two. The Trail Blazers earned a 116-112 win Dec. 26 at Portland.

NOTES: Clippers coach Doc Rivers says the Blazers' acquisition of C Robin Lopez in an offseason trade is a major reason Portland is the league's top rebounding team. "That trade changed them," Rivers said. "Lopez doesn't get a lot of credit because he does all of the dirty work, but moving Lopez to the five and (F LaMarcus) Aldridge to the four has freed (Aldridge) up to be him...they're a big basketball team and it makes them good." ... Trail Blazers F-C Joel Freeland will be out four to eight weeks with an MCL sprain in his right knee. Freeland suffered the injury in Tuesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. ... Los Angeles G J.J. Redick missed his fourth consecutive game with a sore right hip. ... Portland G Mo Williams returned after missing three games for personal reasons.
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