The Los Angeles Clippers moved back into a tie for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by ending their recent skid. Now they'll try to improve their postseason chances by continuing a far more favorable streak.

The Clippers go for their eighth straight home win over the Portland Trail Blazers as they meet for the fourth and final time on Friday.

Los Angeles (38-40) and Golden State are tied for eighth place in the West, but the Clippers own the postseason tiebreaker by virtue of a better division record. They are trying to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992-93.

The Clippers finally looked like a team fighting for a playoff berth Thursday, rallying from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Lakers - their crosstown rivals - 118-110 and snap a three-game losing streak.

Corey Maggette made 10 of 15 shots from the field, scored a career-high 39 points, matched a career high with nine assists and pulled down eight rebounds. He is averaging 26.6 points over the last five games, a big boost from his 16.8 season average.

"It just feels good to win, man,'' Maggette added. "We needed it.''

Clippers leading scorer Elton Brand added 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, while Sam Cassell scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter in his return to the lineup after missing four games because of back spasms.

"I had to get warmed up,'' Cassell said. "This is strange for me, coming off the bench. I don't mind having the ball down the stretch. I can be a decoy and I can make a shot.

"It was a big win for us.''

The Clippers are averaging 99.7 points during a seven-game home-winning streak versus Portland (31-47) while holding the Trail Blazers to 89.9 in that span. Los Angeles has taken two of three meetings between the teams this season, including a 99-86 win in their most recent matchup on March 31, and six of the last seven.

The Clippers play three of their final four games at the Staples Center, where they are 24-14.

The Blazers have lost three straight contests, including a 99-95 defeat to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and seven of their last nine. Portland trailed by as many as 25 points in its latest loss, but rallied to cut the lead to two in the final minute.

Rookie guard Brandon Roy scored 20 points to lead the Blazers, Jamaal Magloire had a double-double and Fred Jones (18 points) and Travis Outlaw (16) each scored in double figures off the bench.

"I really like the no-quit attitude these guys are showing me,'' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We had the opportunity to get back in the game and took advantage by being aggressive.''

That attitude has been key for a team decimated by injuries. Portland only had 10 players available for Wednesday's contest after announcing that starting forward Ime Udoka would miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

The Blazers were already playing without top scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph (right hand), center Joel Przybilla (left knee) and rookie forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who are all done for the season. Aldridge was just diagnosed last week with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a heart condition that is not considered career-threatening.


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