Butler’s 22 leads Clippers rout over Blazers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Caron Butler scored 18 of his 22 points in the third quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers routed the Portland Trail Blazers 93-77 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight victory.
Blake Griffin added 16 points, DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Chris Paul had 11 assists for the Pacific Division champions, who finished their home schedule with a 32-9 record. They end the regular season on Wednesday at Sacramento, and another win would ensure the Clippers have home-court advantage to start the playoffs.
Will Barton scored 17 points and Joel Freeland added 13 points for the Blazers, who never led while losing their 12th in a row.
The Clippers were dominant in the paint (46-30) and on the boards (51-33) while wrapping up the season series 3-1.
Five of the previous six meetings between the teams in Los Angeles had been decided by 10 points or fewer. It was never that close after the second quarter, when the Clippers pulled away on the strength of their bench.
The reserves scored 15 consecutive points for a 45-29 lead, including five by Ryan Hollins. He and Jamal Crawford combined for the quarter’s most spectacular play, with Crawford flipping a no-look pass to a streaking Hollins on the fast break for a driving jam. Hollins got fouled and completed the three-point play.
The starters returned for the final four minutes and sent the Clippers into the half leading 54-36.
Butler had the hot hand in the third, hitting four 3-pointers in his first game since sitting out the second half at Memphis last weekend because of a sore right knee. Chauncey Billups returned to the starting lineup after missing eight games with a strained right groin. He had four points — all on free throws — while playing 17 minutes, just under the limit set for him.
The highlight dunk of the third belonged to Jordan. Paul found him on the break and Jordan dunked with his fingertips. The starters rested in the fourth. Twelve of the 13 Clippers scored in the game.
NOTES: Paul and Griffin addressed the crowd before tipoff to thank them for their support. “Are we having fun yet this year or what? The best is yet to come, folks,” longtime Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler told the fans. … The Blazers started four rookies — Will Barton, Victor Claver, Meyers Leonard and Damian Lillard — for the second time in franchise history. The quartet also started against the Lakers last week. … Portland wraps up its losing season against Golden State on Wednesday. … A 27-year-old man hit a half-court shot to win a new car, the second time it’s happened this season. Jordan led the applause for him during a timeout.