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Clippers lose a tough one in overtime

Trail Blazers win, 116-112, and assume the NBA's best record. Blake Griffin has 35 points and Chris Paul scores 34, but none in overtime

December 26, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers point guard Chris Paul knocks the ball from Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard in the first half Thursday night in Portland.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul knocks the ball from Trail Blazers guard… (Don Ryan / Associated Press )

PORTLAND, Ore. — It was going to be a challenge for the Clippers to get past their emotional defeat Wednesday night.

The challenge was even bigger for the Clippers on Thursday because they were playing against a very good Portland Trail Blazers team on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Clippers were up to the task, but so were the Trail Blazers, who pulled out a thrilling, 116-112 overtime victory at Moda Center.

Blake Griffin had 35 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers and Chris Paul had 34 points and 16 assists. But Paul, who had 11 points in the fourth quarter, didn't score in the overtime.

BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 116, Clippers 112 (OT)

LaMarcus Aldridge (32 points, 10 rebounds) scored for a 110-109 Portland lead in the overtime.

After a Griffin miss, Nicolas Batum made two free throws for a 112-109 lead with 26.5 seconds left, putting the Clippers in an uphill battle the rest of the way.

It stayed tough for the Clippers after Damian Lillard made two free throws and Jamal Crawford made only one of two with 13.4 seconds left, leaving the Clippers behind, 114-112.

Paul scored eight consecutive points for the Clippers in the fourth quarter, including a big-time jumper for a 101-98 lead with 9.3 seconds left in regulation.

But Portland wasn't done, as Batum made a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the score at 101-101 with 5.3 seconds left.

With a chance to win the game, Paul missed a 17-foot jumper over Batum, sending the game into overtime tied at 101-101.

Paul had been the man for the Clippers in the fourth quarter.

He scored to tie it at 95-95. He scored to give the Clippers a 97-96 lead and he scored to give them a 99-98 lead with 40.2 seconds left.

The Clippers played an ebb-and-flow game most of the night, getting down by double digits but always climbing back into the game.

It happened again in the fourth quarter when the Clippers trailed by 11 points, forcing Clippers Coach Doc Rivers to call two timeouts in less than two minutes.

But back-to-back three-pointers by Crawford and from Griffin from the corner in front of Portland's bench got the Clippers closer.

After Darren Collison scored to bring the Clippers to within 91-88, the Trail Blazers called a timeout with 5:55 left to stem the tide again.

But the Clippers got a defensive stop and followed that with another Crawford three-pointer to tie the score at 91-91 in the fourth.

From that point on, the Clippers and Trail Blazers went back and forth.

The Clippers had lost to the Golden State Warriors on Christmas night in a game that saw two players be ejected, three technical fouls and two flagrant fouls.

And for Griffin, who was in the middle of all that action, he had to make sure his emotions were in check because he had to face a tough opponent in Aldridge, who entered the game averaging 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

Aldridge was questionable before the game because he had a wisdom tooth extracted Sunday and he was still in pain.

The Trail Blazers entered the game with a 23-5 record, tied with Indiana and Oklahoma City for the best mark in the NBA.

After an exciting victory, they now stand alone at the top.

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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