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Crawford's last-second miss seals Blazers' win over Clippers

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jamal Crawford was pretty sure he was going to be the hero for his new team on his old stomping grounds.

When Crawford's 20-foot jump shot bounced off the rim as time expired Saturady, guaranteeing the Portland Trail Blazers a 101-100 victory over Crawford's Los Angeles Clippers, he was as surprised as the Rose Garden throng was elated.

"I thought it was in," said Crawford, who played for the Trail Blazers last season. "That's the shot I wanted. I saw the defense behind (Nicolas Batum). I got the space I wanted -- everything. I thought it was in when I let it go."

Crawford scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, fueling a comeback that brought the Clippers (32-13) from 13 points down to a nine-point lead in the closing minutes.

Down 100-91 with 2:38 remaining, Portland scored the game's final 10 points to send the Garden denizens home happy.

Batum collected 20 points, a career-high 12 assists and 10 rebounds -- his second triple-double in three games -- to lead Portland. The Blazers (22-21) won their second straight game after losing six in a row.

"He does everything well," Portland's Damian Lillard said of Batum. "People don't realize how good a playmaker he is, defender, rebounder, scorer, shooter. He does everything well. Him having a triple-double, I'm not surprised by it. He always has his hands in everything. I expect him to get more."

Lillard scored 20 points, drilling four of seven 3-point shots.

Blake Griffin had a game-high 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Clippers, who matched a season high with their fourth straight loss.

Eleven of Portland's past 12 games have been decided by six points or fewer. The Blazers have won five of them.

"To end the game on a 10-0 run was a testament to what we've done for most of the season," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We don't quit. We bounce back. We're resilient."

Portland extended a six-point halftime lead to 74-61 midway through the third quarter, thanks to a barrage of 3-point shots by Batum (two), Wesley Matthews and Lillard. The Clippers, with Griffin leading the way, rallied to get to within 82-76 heading into the final period.

The visitors continued their surge in the fourth, going ahead 85-84 on a pair of Crawford free throws with 8:19 remaining. Portland responded with five points in a row to go back in front 89-85. But the Clippers, with Crawford doing much of the damage, scored 11 in a row to seize a 96-89 lead with 4:13 remaining.

L.A.'s advantage was nine before Lillard sank a 3-pointer to make it 100-94 with 2:10 to go. J.J. Hickson's dunk trimmed the margin to 100-96 with 1:36 left.

After Crawford rimmed out a 3-point attempt, Matthews converted a three-point play, and it was 100-99 with 1:09 to play.

Lamar Odom's jumper missed, and Hickson was fouled on the rebound. Hickson sank both free throws, and the Blazers were on top 101-100 with 45.2 seconds remaining.

After turnovers by each team, the Clippers called timeout with 29.7 seconds to go. Crawford missed a driving layup, and a jump ball was called with 12.4 seconds left.

The Clippers controlled the tip, but Crawford's game-winning attempt found only iron as the clock ran out.

"We let that one get away from us," Crawford said. "To come back and get the lead and not finish the deal is disappointing, for sure."

Leading 25-22 after one quarter, Portland outscored the Clippers 18-7 to open a 43-29 advantage. L.A. closed to within 47-43 and went into intermission trailing 51-45.

Griffin had a big first half with 13 points, five assists and four rebounds. Batum totaled seven points, six assists and five rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in nine points and four boards for the Blazers at the break.

Aldridge ended the night with 12 points and six rebounds.

NOTES: Batum is one of four NBA players with more than one triple-double this season. The others are Miami's LeBron James, Boston's Rajon Rondo and Toronto's Jose Calderon. .. Griffin's 10 assists tied his career high. ... Crawford received more boos than cheers when he entered the game late in the first quarter. The 13-year veteran struggled early, going 1-for-6 while collecting three points, three assists and two turnovers in the first half. ... Clippers guard Chris Paul (right knee) missed his third straight game. Coach Vinny Del Negro, who considers Paul doubtful for Sunday night's rematch with the Trail Blazers at Staples Center. ... Los Angeles guard Chauncey Billups (left foot) was on the floor working hard prior to the game, but he was not available for duty, either. "With Chauncey and Chris, there's no timetable," Del Negro said. "They're both feeling better. Chauncey is doing more physical stuff than Chris. We're trying to get Chris as much therapy and rest as possible. Once he starts some contact, I'll have a better feel for (his return)."

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