Paul George had 29 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers handed the Portland Trail Blazers its sixth straight loss with a 117-102 victory on Sunday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 24 for the Clippers as they fight for home-court advantage in the playoffs. Los Angeles was fifth in the Western Conference standings behind the Phoenix Suns.
Jusuf Nurkic finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who were 13th in the West, well outside of playoff contention. Damian Lillard had 21 points and nine assists.
Portland never led in the game but pulled within 103-97 on Nurkic’s layup in the fourth quarter. Leonard’s jumper and George’s 3-pointer pushed the Clippers’ lead back to 108-97, and many Portland fans started heading for the exits.
Assistant coach Dan Craig was the acting head coach for the Clippers because Tyronn Lue had a non-COVID illness and did not travel with the team.
Los Angeles was coming off a 113-108 loss at home to Orlando the night before, snapping a four-game winning streak.
The Clippers led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but the Blazers closed the gap to 44-42 on Drew Eubanks’ basket before Trendon Watford tied it with a layup. Portland was unable to pull in front, and the Clippers led 59-55 at the break.
Paul George’s dunk put Los Angeles up 76-66 midway through the third quarter, but the Blazers hung around, pulling within 79-74 on another Eubanks basket.
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