Clippers Gain First Win In Portland Since 1999
L.A. Clippers 100, Portland 94
PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 1 (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Clippers' New Year's resolution was to end their 12-game losing streak at the Rose Garden. Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell helped that become a reality.
Mobley scored 23 points and Cassell added 22 as the Clippers finally put an end to their continued failure here with a 100-94 victory over Portland Trail Blazers, their first win at the Rose Garden since 1999.
Cassell finished his effort with a jumper with 30 seconds to go for a 95-91 lead. After getting a steal on the Trail Blazers' next possession, Mobley made 1-of-2 free throws with 20 seconds remaining.
"We set it up as one of our options and (Clippers guard Shaun Livingston) made a great read and delivered it to Sam for the jump shot," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He's been in that situation a number of times and we expect that of him."
"It's easy making shots in the first three quarters," Cassell said. "The last five minutes of the game, that's when it's hard. I strive myself to making those shots. That's what I like to do."
Three seconds later, Juan Dixon connected on a deep 3-pointer to cut Portland's deficit to two, but Chris Kaman ended the Trail Blazers' threat by making four straight free throws in the waning moments.
"That's what I expect him to do," Cassell added. "My thing with (Kaman) is that if he rebounds with intensity, we can most likely get a win. We just have to have it."
Mobley led five players in double figures on 7-of-14 shooting and 9-of-10 free throws. The 12-year veteran Cassell had seven assists and Elton Brand finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Kaman collected 14 points and 15 boards and rookie Daniel Ewing, added 11 points in his second start of the season for the Clippers.
"We got good games out of a lot of different guys tonight," Dunleavy said. "Kaman was huge down the stretch. He did a great job on the defensive boards for us and then made a big jump shot and free throws. I thought he played a strong game."
"I was just active and try to be active every game," Kaman said. "We hired a free-throw guy that comes into practice and we have to shoot 100 before we can leave. We've been at the top of the league in that catagory and it paid off tonight."
On the other hand, Portland made a franchise-low 3-of-10 free throws.
"That's just a case of settling for too many perimeter shots," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We should have penetrated more and gotten into the paint. We should have forced their defense to move more. As it was, we made it too easy for them."
Los Angeles was able to overcome Portland's 18-4 run in the third quarter, capped by Zach Randolph's basket with 9:12 left in the period to cut the deficit to 57-56.
Moments later, the Clippers widened their advantage to 73-62 after Mobley hit a 21-footer to cap a 12-2 burst with 3:47 remaining in the frame.
"They got a lot of good players, man," said Randolph, who collected his 14th double-double. "They got a lot of guys who can execute at the end. They're a dangerous team."
Los Angeles, which snapped a two-game skid, also withstood a 16-4 run by the Blazers in the fourth that Theo Ratliff finished with a dunk with 2:15 to go to get Portland within 89-87.
"We're getting behind too early in the game and then trying to fight out of it," McMillan said. "We've been pretty good in the fourth quarter lately but the whole team was flat at the beginning and the second quarter."
In the second, Brand keyed a 16-2 run by scoring 10 points, including a hook shot with 4:09 to play to make it 48-32. He finished with 14 in the period. "It was just a case of my guys finding me in a spot where I was able to score," said Brand, who collected his 19th double-double. "In the second, I was getting double-teamed and I found the other guys and we just kept it rolling."
Dixon led Portland with 24 points and Randolph added 18 and 11 rebounds for Portland, which has lost two straight.
"We got to stop trying to play from behind," Dixon said. "We've been digging ourselves a whole and trying to make a surge in the fourth quarter. But's it's too late. We gotta execute better in the early going."