LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds, Brandon Roy
added 23 points and the Portland Trail Blazers moved up two spots
to sixth place in the Western Conference playoff standings with a
93-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Andre Miller scored 13 points for the Blazers, who began the
night in eighth place before their 11th win in 13 games. Portland
improved to 48-30, pulling even with idle Oklahoma City and
catching San Antonio, which lost at Phoenix 112-101.
Marcus Camby had two points and nine rebounds for the Blazers
before straining his right hamstring in the second half of the
former Clippers shot-blocker’s first game back in Los Angeles.
Steve Blake, who was traded for Camby in February, had 14 points
and six assists while leading the Clippers’ fourth-quarter rally.
Los Angeles trailed by 21 points early in the fourth before falling
short in its sixth consecutive loss.
Chris Kaman and Rasual Butler also scored 14 points for Los
Angeles, which trimmed the Blazers’ lead to eight points in the
final three minutes before losing for the 16th time in 18
With five games in eight days to close the regular season,
Portland let the easiest matchup get far too interesting. The
Blazers managed just 16 points and didn’t shoot a free throw in the
fourth quarter, but Juwan Howard and Miller had big baskets in the
final 90 seconds of their 16th win in 20 games.
Aldridge missed practice Tuesday with a sinus infection, but
played with a clear head against the Clippers, scoring from
everywhere on the court against a succession of defenders. Roy
missed Portland’s last two workouts with a sore back, but he kept
the Blazers rolling early before scoring just two fourth-quarter
Portland scored 10 straight points midway through the third
quarter to take a 71-54 lead, and led 81-60 early in the fourth
quarter. Led by Butler and Blake, Los Angeles made runs of 13-2 and
8-2 to get within 89-81.
Camby’s work ethic and leadership were among the season’s few
sources of warmth for the Clippers, and the veteran got a warm
reception from Clippers fans before the game. General manager Mike
Dunleavy traded him to Portland on Feb. 16 in a deal generally
thought to be remarkably one-sided for the Blazers. Dunleavy was
fired three weeks later.
Although just three games separate second place from eighth in
the West playoff standings, Portland coach Nate McMillan said he
isn’t rushing off the court every night to check the standings.
He’s well aware of the Blazers’ need for a strong finish to avoid
facing the Lakers in the first round, although the defending
champions aren’t playing nearly as well as the four teams below
them in the standings.
NOTES: Clippers F Travis Outlaw, who arrived along with Blake in
the deal for Camby, missed his second straight game with a strained
right groin. … Portland has won 11 of its last 15 road games. …
The Blazers will be back at Staples Center on Sunday to face the