Game #7
Rose Garden | Portland, OR
January 10, 2012 | 7:00 PM (PST)
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TEAM Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 FINAL
26 21 24 26 97
24 30 24 27 105

The Clippers scrambled and clawed and even won the rebounding margin for the first time this season. But they dug themselves a second quarter deficit and never could draw even with Portland as the Trail Blazers pulled out a 105-97 victory on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the Rose Garden.

Portland (7-2) was led by Gerald Wallace, who was held scoreless in 30 minutes during the Clippers’ five-point win over the Trail Blazers on Jan. 1. The 29-year-old small forward fouled out in the final minute with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, four rebounds, and four assists. Former Clipper Marcus Camby had 12 points with 11 rebounds.

“Wallace got free too many times,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We didn’t control their high screen and rolls the way we’d have liked to.”

The game appeared over after Wallace nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner to go up 99-90 with two minutes to go. But the Clippers scored seven of the next eight points to cut it to 100-97. Chauncey Billups made 2-of-3 free throws, DeAndre Jordan knocked the ball away from Raymond Felton and Chris Paul chased it down for a breakaway layup, and Billups drilled a runner and made the ensuing foul shot.

The late outburst wasn’t enough as Felton and Wesley Matthews converted five of the final six free throws to extend Portland’s record to 6-0 at home.

“When they needed them, they hit shots,” Clippers power forward Blake Griffin said. “We had a couple of key turnovers, but you have to give it to them… they hit shots.”

Caron Butler scored 20 points for the Clippers (4-3), his second-straight 20-point game. Griffin finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Billups 19 points and Mo Williams scored 14 off the bench.

The Clippers, who are ranked last in the NBA in several rebounding categories, out-rebounded Portland 39-34.

“Caron played really well,” Griffin said. “He carried us for a stretch.”

Paul was held to 11 points and three assists in 31 foul plagued minutes. He sat out the final seven minutes of the first half after picking up his third foul and played a lengthy stretch of the third quarter with four fouls.

“We just came out slow in the first half, first quarter and got down quick,” Griffin said. “We did a better job of fighting in the second half.”

The Clippers shook off an early seven-point deficit by outscoring Portland 15-5 in the final five minutes of the first quarter. With Paul relegated to the bench with two fouls, the reserve unit chipped in 11 points during the stretch, including seven from Williams, to give the Clippers a 26-24 lead.

Wallace had nine points in the opening quarter and along with Nicolas Batum and Matthews (18 points) headed the Trail Blazers’ charge before halftime.

Portland overwhelmed the Clippers with their length up front and quickness on the wing in the second quarter, opening up an 11-point lead on two separate occasions. And it seemed as though each time the Clippers would string together consecutive baskets, the Trail Blazers would answer with two of their own.

After Batum made two free throws to put Portland up 42-31, Butler drilled a pull-up jumper from the elbow, Billups hit a one-handed floater, and Williams made a jumper in transition after the defense collapsed to prevent a lob attempt to Griffin.

The Trail Blazers answered with six-straight points, including a high-low alley oop from Camby to Aldridge.

In the final minute of the half Billups made flat-footed 3-pointer from right wing against shot clock, Felton followed with a tough layup over Jordan, and Billups was fouled on drive to the basket with 2.2 seconds left in the half to make it 54-47.

“We could never quite get over the hump,” Del Negro said. “We would cut it back, and then we would miss a couple free throws, or we’d turn it over, or they’d get an easy one or a tip-in. We gave up a couple threes in that left corner. We gave Wallace a three in front of our bench. We just have to be a little bit sharper on those things and get guys off of the 3-point line, and make them take contested twos better.”


In all three Clippers losses their opponent has scored more than 100 points and shot better than 50% from the field… Billups missed one free throw in the fourth quarter, his first miss of the season from the line. He is 31-of-32 on the year… At one point in the third quarter Griffin made three shots in a row from outside of 18 feet. It looked like a personal duel with all-star candidate LaMarcus Aldridge, in some respect, as they exchanged long jumpers. Aldridge had 18 points on the night, including 14 after halftime.

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