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Paul Closes Out Blazers, Clippers Improve to 2-2

Posted By Taylor Smith On Jan 2 2012 @ 3:09 am In Los Angeles Clippers,NBA | No Comments

Chris Paul scored 17 points (including a crucial lay-in with nine seconds remaining to put L.A. up by four) and dished out another seven assists as the Los Angeles Clippers improved to 2-2 on the young season with a 93-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Clippers maintained a healthy lead throughout the majority of the game (including a 16-point advantage midway through the third quarter), but were unable to completely shake the feisty Blazers until the final buzzer sounded. The loss dropped Portland to 3-1.

L.A. showed more fight on the defensive end of the floor than they had in either of the previous two games (both losses) in forcing Portland to shoot just over 42 percent from the field.

Jamal Crawford led the Blazers with 23 points off-the-bench, but, in typical Jamal Crawford fashion, took 16 shots to get there. The Clippers’ wing defenders did a fantastic job on Portland’s second-leading scorer, Gerald Wallace, holding him scoreless on 0-5 shooting in nearly 30 offensively-inept minutes.

Blake Griffin led the Clips with 20 points, and Caron Butler added 19. Griffin also grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded his second-consecutive double-double. Chauncey Billups missed his second straight game nursing a sore right groin.

In the end, though, it was Paul’s steady play d0wn-the-stretch that proved to be the difference. In addition to the aforementioned game-clinching layup, he also won a jump ball against Crawford in the waning seconds to officially put the game on ice.

From here, the Trail Blazers will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the undefeated Thunder on Tuesday, while the Clippers will have a few days off before hosting the Houston Rockets Wednesday night at Staples Center.

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