Los Angeles at Portland

Blake hands out 14 assists in first quarter to fuel Blazers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- An injury-ravaged opponent and a team eager to run proved to be a record-setting combination for Portland's Steve Blake.

Blake tied an NBA record for assists in one quarter when he handed out 14 during the first period in the Trail Blazers' 116-87 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. San Antonio's John Lucas set the record of 14 assists during the second quarter against Denver on April 15, 1984.

"I took a peek and saw I was getting up there, so I was happy guys kept making shots for me," Blake said. "When it comes to assists, your teammates have to make shots, and they did that for me."

With Portland (35-20) running against a Clippers' team down by six players due to injury, Blake took advantage of the fast-paced start the Blazers created. During one stretch during the first quarter, Blake had assists on nine consecutive baskets, including five passes that led to dunks by LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Joel Przybilla.

"When I run the floor like that and Blake passes you the ball like that, what can you do?" said Aldridge, who had a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Los Angeles couldn't do much. The Clippers (13-43) were without starting forwards Zach Randolph and Al Thornton. Randolph served the second game of a two-game suspension for punching Phoenix's Louis Amundson on Feb. 17. Thornton, out with a sore right foot, missed his first game of the season.

The Clippers were also missing forward Marcus Camby (ear infection), center Chris Kaman (left foot), forward Brian Skinner (right foot) and guard Mike Taylor (right thumb). Beyond that, starting guard Baron Davis played with a painful toe injury.

"Once they started running, it was hard for us to get back," Davis said. "We just got dominated out there."

Blake, who scored six points and didn't make his first basket until midway through the third quarter, had plenty to do with Portland's quick offensive start. The Blazers hit 18 of 26 shots during the first quarter on the way to a 38-16 lead.

Blake said the first quarter was "the best quarter I've ever played." He missed 13 of 14 games before the All-Star break with a shoulder injury. He has started each of Portland's three games since the break.

"He's been good ever since he's been back," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "Frankly, I was surprised that Steve had 14 assists in the first quarter, but I knew we had good ball movement and good rhythm and were kind of in a zone."

Blake's sensational quarter overshadowed performances by Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Aldridge hit 13 of 20 shots and scored 18 of his 28 points during the first quarter. Roy was near a triple-double, with 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

"He made everybody's job easy," Aldridge said of Blake. "All we had to do was finish."

With the win, Portland pulled to within 1½ games of first-place Denver in the Northwest Division. The Blazers, who won their eighth consecutive home game, are 3-0 since the All-Star break. Portland leaves town for a three-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Houston.

Guard Eric Gordon led Los Angeles with 21 points, while DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Notes

  • Blake's 17 assists were one shy of his career high.
  • Thornton was the only Clippers player to start every game this season before sitting out Sunday. Replacing Thornton was Steve Novak, who became the team's 17th player to start a game this season.
  • Portland's Greg Oden sat out his third game since the All-Star break because of a chipped kneecap. He's day to day.
  • At 13-43, only Sacramento (12-45) has a worse record than the Clippers.
  • Portland's 23-5 start at home is its best since the 1999-2000 season.
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Steve Blake is in the middle of everything for the Blazers on Sunday, getting 17 assists.  (Getty Images)
Steve Blake is in the middle of everything for the Blazers on Sunday, getting 17 assists. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
L.A. Clippers (13-43) 1623291987
Portland (35-20) «38272724116
LAC:E. Gordon 21 Pts
LAC:D. Jordan 12 Reb
LAC:B. Davis 6 Ast
POR:L. Aldridge 28 Pts
POR:L. Aldridge 10 Reb
POR:S. Blake 17 Ast
Players of the Game
PortlandLos Angeles

L. Aldridge

E. Gordon
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
281012142
Los Angeles
D. Jordan, C404-47-13120215
S. Novak, SF383-110-03139
E. Gordon, SG386-158-842221
B. Davis, PG286-123-456215
R. Davis, SG213-122-222010
F. Jones, SG283-90-05347
M. Collins, PG273-80-03217
A. Acker, G131-60-22002
M. Taylor, PG80-21-22111
M. Camby, CDid Not Play
B. Skinner, PFDid Not Play
J. Hart, PGDid Not Play
Z. Randolph, PFDid Not Play
C. Kaman, CDid Not Play
A. Thornton, SFDid Not Play
Totals 29-7921-3138171587
 36.7%67.7% 
Portland
B. Roy, SG337-115-689220
L. Aldridge, PF3213-202-2101228
S. Blake, PG262-70-011726
N. Batum, SF254-90-031410
J. Przybilla, C203-40-29046
T. Outlaw, SF246-132-230015
C. Frye, PF242-50-07134
S. Rodriguez, PG170-20-02610
R. Fernandez, SG164-61-231111
J. Bayless, PG123-60-00237
S. Randolph, PF84-80-27009
M. Ruffin, C30-10-03000
R. LaFrentz, PFDid Not Play
M. Webster, SGDid Not Play
G. Oden, CDid Not Play
Totals 48-9210-16563822116
 52.2%62.5% 
Other Games
Chi 91 Final
Ind 98
NY 100 Final
Tor 111
Bos 128 Final
Pho 108
Char 78 Final
Hou 99
Den 117 Final
Mil 120
Mia 99 Final
Orl 122
LAL 111 Final
Min 108
Det 78 Final
Cle 99