Brand Powers Clippers Past Blazers
L.A. Clippers 97, Portland 83
PORTLAND, Ore., March 26 (Ticker) -- Elton Brand played like an All-Star from the outset. The Portland Trail Blazers never found an answer.
Brand scored 10 of his 30 points in the first quarter and outscored the opposing starters as he led the Los Angeles Clippers to a 97-83 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers, who have lost eight straight games.
"It's definitely a confidence win on our part," Maggette said. "Putting ourselves in positions to win ballgames early is good and we're getting ready for the playoffs. We couldn't take Portland lightly. Their bench came in and scored 57 points. I'm just glad we jumped on them early."
Los Angeles opened the game with an 8-1 spurt en route to a 29-11 lead after one quarter. Leading the way was Brand, who made 5-of-7 shots to pace 65 percent (13-of-20) shooting by the Clippers.
"I wanted to come out aggressive and try to take them out early," said Brand, who recorded his 38th double-double. "I heard somewhere that (Zach) Randolph was dealing with a sore toe, so I kinda wanted to take it hard to him and everybody. Whatever they have to deal with, we gotta try and win ballgames."
Portland, which averages a league-low 88.7 points a game, made just 3-of-17 shots.
"It was the same old thing at the start, I'm just used to it," said Randolph, who was dealing with a painful ingrown toenail and scored just four points on 1-of-7 shooting. "It was sore and I wasn't going to play this morning, but then I thought I would try and go once I got here."
The Trail Blazers shaved the deficit to 48-35 at intermission. Brand responded by scoring 14 points in the third quarter, when the Clippers built their biggest lead, a 74-49 advantage entering the final period.
"We wanted to stay sharp after half and we did," Brand said. "We did the things we had to do to win the game and we just flat-out attacked them. Being aggressive, challenging jump shots, running our defense right and from there we built a big lead."
"In the first and third quarter, guys took pretty good control and we got some good minutes from everybody," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had some lapses with our lead, but mostly we were in control and we needed these two wins (Washington on Saturday) and we took care of business."
Overall, Brand made 10-of-18 shots, while Portland's starters were 9-of-34 from the field for 26 points.
Maggette made all 13 of his free throws as the Clippers sank 32-of-37 from the line.
Reserve Travis Outlaw scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Portland, which got no closer than the final margin. Rookie Jarrett Jack added 16 points of the bench for Portland, which received 57 points from its reserves.
"In the second, (Randolph) complained about his toe being sore so we decided to pull him and go with our young guys," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I told Travis and our young guys these are the opportunities to go out and be scrappy and show us you want to be on the floor."
Owners of the worst record in the Western Conference, Portland (20-50) has dropped 22 of its last 25 contests. Its current slide is the longest since its club-record 12-game losing streak in 1986.
"Our youth and inexperience is showing right now," McMillan added. "Other teams are sharp because they have to get themselves ready for the playoffs. They are really exposing our youth we have out on the floor."
"I really don't even know what to say," said Blazers guard Juan Dixon, who was the only starter in double figures with 15 points. "I've lost before, but never like this. We're just a confidence-booster for other teams."