Portland at Los Angeles

Blazers make progress in standings by topping Clippers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Even after the Portland Trail Blazers moved up two spots in the Western Conference playoff picture with a single victory, LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy claimed they don't care who they'll face in the first round of the playoffs.

After all, the way they're finishing the regular season, it's clear the Blazers could be big trouble for anybody.

Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds, Roy added 23 points and the Blazers ascended to sixth place in the playoff standings with a 93-85 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

Western Conference
SeedTeamGB
1o-Dallas-
2x-Denver-
3x-Golden State-
4x-Houston-
5y-L.A. Clippers-
6x-L.A. Lakers-
7x-Memphis-
8o-Minnesota-
Still alive
10z-Oklahoma City-
14y-San Antonio-
Eliminated
9o-New Orleans-
11o-Phoenix-
12o-Portland-
13o-Sacramento-
15o-Utah-
Complete Playoff Race

Andre Miller scored 13 points for the Blazers, who began the night in eighth place before their 11th victory in 13 games. After holding off the Clippers' late rally, Portland improved to 48-30, pulling even with Oklahoma City and San Antonio, which both lost.

"We feel like if we finish out strong, we could easily go to sixth," Aldridge said. "But it doesn't really matter. Every series is going to be hard, but you have to finish strong for your own sake, not for who you play."

The Blazers already know they're headed back to the playoffs for the second successive season after a five-year absence, but Roy doesn't think his teammates are looking ahead.

"All we'll do is keep playing, and when the official standings come out, we'll figure out what we have to do," Roy said. "You can't be worried about where you match up or who you want to play."

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 only two fourth-quarter points.

With five games in eight days to close the regular season, Portland let the easiest matchup get far too interesting. The Blazers managed 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 victory in 20 games.

Although only 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.

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. Camby said he sat out only as a precaution, and he plans to practice Thursday.

"I got a chance to see my kids, see my wife, so it feels pretty good," Camby said. "It feels really good to be headed to the playoffs. After two years off, it feels good. It doesn't matter who we play. We can compete."

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.

"He's doing great, and I'm really happy that he's on a playoff team," Clippers center DeAndre Jordan said. "He deserves it. We competed for two years in practice, so we talked trash and we knew it was going to be a competitive game. We had fun."

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.

"We missed a myriad of open shots and layups in the fourth quarter that really hurt us," Clippers interim coach Kim Hughes said. "We made a run, and I felt pretty good about our chances, but we just couldn't make shots down the stretch."

Portland scored 10 consecutive 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.

Notes

  • Clippers F Travis Outlaw, who arrived along with Blake in the deal for Camby, missed his second successive game with a strained right groin.
  • Portland has won 11 of its past 15 road games.
  • The Blazers will be back at Staples Center on Sunday to face the Lakers.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Brandon Roy's 23 points guides the Blazers up the Western Conference standings.  (Getty Images)
Brandon Roy's 23 points guides the Blazers up the Western Conference standings. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Portland (48-30) «2723271693
L.A. Clippers (27-51) 1828142585
POR:L. Aldridge 27 Pts
POR:L. Aldridge 12 Reb
POR:B. Roy 6 Ast
LAC:R. Butler 14 Pts
LAC:D. Jordan 11 Reb
LAC:B. Davis 8 Ast
Players of the Game
Los AngelesPortland

C. Kaman

L. Aldridge
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
148127125
Portland
L. Aldridge, PF4212-263-4125127
B. Roy, SG3910-172-336223
A. Miller, PG335-93-444313
N. Batum, SF315-80-142211
M. Camby, C271-50-09222
J. Howard, PF245-80-050310
R. Fernandez, SG180-10-00200
J. Bayless, PG111-31-10113
M. Webster, SG112-40-03134
J. Pendergraph, PF30-00-00000
P. Mills, PGDid Not Play
D. Cunningham, SFDid Not Play
T. Diener, PGDid Not Play
G. Oden, CDid Not Play
J. Przybilla, CDid Not Play
Totals 41-819-1340231793
 50.6%69.2% 
Los Angeles
B. Davis, PG395-141-218011
R. Butler, SG386-110-031214
E. Gordon, SG344-90-03219
D. Gooden, PF315-110-050110
C. Kaman, C307-140-281114
S. Blake, PG286-100-016214
D. Jordan, C244-60-011218
C. Smith, PF121-13-42335
M. Collins, PG50-10-00100
B. Brown, PGDid Not Play
B. Griffin, PFDid Not Play
S. Novak, SFDid Not Play
T. Outlaw, SFDid Not Play
B. Skinner, PFDid Not Play
Totals 38-774-834241185
 49.4%50.0% 
Other Games
NY 105 Final
Ind 113
Bos 115 Final
Tor 104
Wash 94 Final
Orl 121
Atl 88 Final
Det 90
Phi 95 Final
Mia 99
Char 104 Final
NO 103
NJ 89 Final
Mil 108
GS 116 Final
Min 107
Den 98 Final
OKC 94
Utah 96 Final
Hou 113
Mem 84 Final
Dal 110
SA 101 Final
Pho 112