If the Los Angeles Clippers can continue to take advantage of teams currently out of the postseason mix, they could find themselves back in the playoffs.

The Clippers look to move into a tie for seventh in the Western Conference on Saturday night when they meet the Portland Trail Blazers, who will play their first game since losing leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph for the season.

Los Angeles (35-37), which has won five of six, is one-half game behind seventh-place Denver and has a 1 1/2-game lead over ninth-place Golden State. The Nuggets next play Seattle while the Warriors host Memphis on Sunday.

"We're on a mission right now,'' said Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley, who had 26 points in a 105-101 win Friday over the Kings for their first win in Sacramento in 10 years.

Los Angeles had lost 17 straight at Arco Arena since Nov. 7, 1997.

"We took pride when I was here in beating the Clippers,'' said former King Jason Hart, who had 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds. "Now I'm part of a Clippers team that finally won here. Definitely, this is special. I was the 15th man here and had no chance to play. I felt I could play here but didn't get the chance.''

Five of Los Angeles' last 10 opponents currently are not in playoff position, including Portland (29-43), which has lost three straight and is in last place in the Northwest Division.

Corey Maggette added 19 to lead the Clippers on Friday. Maggette is averaging 21.0 points in his last seven games.

Portland, meanwhile, will be without Randolph after he had surgery on his right hand Friday.

Randolph, who leads the Blazers with 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, was injured in a 94-93 loss at Minnesota last Sunday. In a 96-92 loss to league-worst Memphis on Thursday, Randolph scored a career-high 43 points and tied a season high with 17 rebounds while playing with his hand taped.

"We've got to keep fighting and trying to win as many games as possible," said Portland rookie guard Brandon Roy, who had 13 points and five assists against the Grizzlies. He returned after missing a loss to Chicago on Monday night because of the birth of his son.

Roy averaged 23.0 points in three games prior to missing Monday's contest.

Blazers forward Ime Udoka will miss his second straight game after suffering a concussion against the Bulls. The third-year forward is averaging a career-high 8.6 points per game.

The Clippers and Blazers have split two games this season, with each team winning at home. They will conclude their season series on April 13 in Los Angeles.


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