Trail Blazers 93, Clippers 85

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

games.

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

points.

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

Lakers.