Clippers End Slide by Sweeping Blazers
L.A. Clippers 97, Portland 93
LOS ANGELES, April 12 (Ticker) -- Elton Brand and Sam Cassell helped the Los Angeles Clippers match a California milestone.
Brand scored 25 points and Cassell collected 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Clippers completed their first sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers with a hard-fought 97-93 victory.
Los Angeles is one-half game behind Memphis for the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
"It is a great milestone for us to win 45 games," Brand said. "I am proud to be with the organization. It is important that we got this win. We had some tough games lately so we needed to get this win."
Although the Trail Blazers (21-57) have the worst record in the NBA, the Clippers had a tough time pulling away in the contest that featured 15 lead changes and four ties.
"We're really not into the moral victories, but I do respect the way this team played tonight," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "These young guys came out and fought and played together. All the things we've been talking about all season long. We got that tonight."
"We did something that we can't do," Cassell said. "We played at their intensity. We played their style. They dictated the game the whole 48 minutes."
Chris Kaman, who collected 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Cuttino Mobley each connected on a pair of free throws in the last 12 seconds to remove doubt about the outcome.
Rookie reserve Jarrett Jack collected 20 points and seven assists for Portland (21-57), which has lost 15 of its last 16 games and 14 straight games on the road.
"You look at this team and the Clippers and the roles were reversed a couple of years ago," Jack said. "Now they are like our teams were. The guys here are trying to get established as players. Our effort tonight was strong but we still came up short."
Los Angeles did get some bad news as Corey Maggette, who missed his third straight game, told reporters that he has a herniated disk in his back and does not know when he will return. The Clippers' second-leading scorer, Maggette missed 39 games earlier this season because of ligament damage in his right foot.