Clippers 98, Trail Blazers 97

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 31, 2012
Chris Paul made a driving layup with 5 seconds to go, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Portland Trail Blazers 98-97 on Friday night as they tied their season high with their fourth straight victory. Paul, Blake Griffin and Randy Foye led six Clippers in double figures with 20 points each. Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan had 12 each, and Nick Young added 10. Griffin had 13 rebounds and Paul had 14 assists. The Clippers trailed by two when Paul got the ball to Foye, who hit a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to put the Clippers ahead 96-95. Jamal Crawford made a 22-footer with Foye's hand in his face and Portland led 97-96 with 13 seconds left. Paul dribbled around before driving to the basket for the winner. Wesley Matthews missed a jumper in the waning seconds for Portland. J.J. Hickson led the Blazers with a season-high 29 points and 13 rebounds, filling in for injured All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Nicolas Batum added 18 points, Crawford 14, and Matthews 12. Aldridge missed the game because of a sprained left elbow he sustained in a win against New Orleans a night earlier. Hickson scored six straight points and Raymond Felton added a 3-pointer to give Portland an 89-83 lead, its largest of the fourth. Griffin made two free throws - the only time in the quarter that a Clipper hit both attempts - and Paul scored to draw them within two. Hickson missed both free throws with 57 seconds left and the Blazers ahead 95-93 but they went on to lose for the third time in four meetings against the Clippers. Paul and Foye hit 3-pointers early in the third quarter, when the Clippers led by eight points. The Blazers rallied to tie it at 62 on consecutive 3-pointers by Crawford and Luke Babbitt. From there, it was back-and-forth with the Blazers tying it twice more. Kenyon Martin's putback with three-tenths of a second left gave the Clippers a 73-70 lead going into the fourth. The Clippers led until early in the second quarter, when the Blazers scored 15 straight points to go ahead 35-25 helped by 3-pointers from Babbitt, Jonny Flynn and Batum. Los Angeles responded by outscoring Portland 21-8 to end the half ahead 46-43. Foye scored his first 12 points in the run, including three 3-pointers, and Paul capped it with a twisting driving layup at the buzzer that landed him on the floor. Notes: The Clippers also won four straight from Jan. 26-Feb. 1. ... They have scored 100 or more points once in their last 14 games against the Blazers. ... Clippers F Reggie Evans was fined $25,000 for making an obscene gesture during Monday's game against New Orleans. He admitted he made the gesture, but he said it wasn't directed at the fans. Evans said he was responding to an inside joke between him and teammates Griffin and Jordan, who were teasing him from the bench.
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