Paul scores 28 as Clippers beat Trail Blazers
(The Sports Xchange) - Chris Paul scored 28 points, dished out 11 assists and grabbed six rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 115-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of a Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series Sunday night at Staples Center.
Blake Griffin added 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Los Angeles, and DeAndre Jordan contributed 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
J.J. Redick chipped in 17 points for the Clippers, who blew the game open in the third quarter. Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers came off the bench to score 13 and 11 points, respectively, for Los Angeles, which beat Portland for the fourth consecutive meeting.
Damian Lilliard had 21 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, while Gerald Henderson finished with 16 points. CJ McCollum managed just nine points. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 10 points and collected 12 rebounds.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday at Staples Center.
Los Angeles increased its eight-point margin at the half into a double-digit advantage in the third quarter. Griffin's dunk pushed the lead to 65-48, and the margin grew to as much as 21 before the Clippers carried an 81-66 edge into the final period.
The lead never dipped below 14 in the fourth quarter. The Blazers intentionally fouled Jordan, a 43 percent free-throw shooter during the regular season who converted eight of 18 attempts for the game, but that failed to generate a rally, either.
Paul scored eight of his 12 second-quarter points in the final 1:34 of the half as the Clippers closed on a 10-2 run and seized a 50-42 lead at the break.
The Clippers held the Trail Blazers to 35.4 percent shooting in the first half while hitting 50 percent of their shots. They also had the edge on foul shots, making 14 of 19 (73.7 percent) to only three of six (50 percent) for Portland.
Overall, the Clippers hit 53.8 percent of their shots to 39.8 for the Blazers. From the foul line, Los Angeles made 25 of 39 (64.1 percent) at the foul line to 19 of 26 (73.1 percent) for Portland.
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