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  • Batum, Blazers tip Clips

  • PORTLAND — Nicolas Batum held on to the game ball long after the confetti celebrating Portland's victory stopped falling from the rafters of the Rose Garden.
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  • PORTLAND — Nicolas Batum held on to the game ball long after the confetti celebrating Portland's victory stopped falling from the rafters of the Rose Garden.
    Batum had 20 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists — for his second triple-double in three games — and the Trail Blazers edged the Los Angeles Clippers 101-100 on Saturday night.
    Batum had his first career triple-double on Monday in Portland's 98-95 loss to Washington. He had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
    But that one didn't quite mean as much.
    "It's a better taste when you win the game," he said following the victory, the ball sitting in front of his locker.
    It was the fourth straight loss for the Clippers, who played without guard Chris Paul for the third consecutive game with a bruised right kneecap.
    The game was the first of a back-to-back between the two teams, who meet again in Los Angeles tonight.
    The Clippers trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half but they reclaimed the lead in the fourth quarter and held off the Blazers until Wesley Matthews pulled Portland within 100-99 with a layup and free throw.
    J.J. Hickson made a pair of foul shots to give the Blazers back the lead with 45 seconds left and Jamal Crawford missed a 19-foot jumper for the Clippers with 0.9 seconds left for the final margin.
    "I'll take that shot 10 out of 10 and I'll make it nine out of 10," Crawford said.
    Batum grabbed the rebound of Crawford's final shot and encircled the ball tightly with both arms. He wouldn't even relinquish his hold when rookie Damian Lillard embraced him.
    "I can't promise a triple-double every week, but I try to do something and help the team to win every game," Batum said.
    Blake Griffin had 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Clippers, just shy of his third career triple-double.
    "Tough pill to swallow," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We had an opportunity to steal this one and we couldn't convert down the stretch."
    The Clippers are 3-3 in the six total games Paul has missed because of his kneecap. Del Negro said it was unclear when Paul might return.
    Asked if Los Angeles missed him against the Blazers, Del Negro said simply: "Chris is our closer."
    Eric Bledsoe again started in the All-Star guard's place.
    There also was uncertainty before the game about whether Griffin would play because of a sore left ankle. He tweaked it early in the Clippers' 93-88 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
    Portland was coming off a 100-80 victory Wednesday night over the Indiana Pacers that snapped a six-game losing streak.
    The Blazers' victory against the Pacers also snapped a four-game losing streak at the Rose Garden. Forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points against Indiana and the next day was selected as an All-Star Game reserve. He will join Paul and Griffin on the West team for the game on Feb. 17 in Houston.
    The Clippers pulled ahead 15-9 early, but Portland pulled in front briefly after Lillard's 3-pointer and Jared Jeffries' dunk made it 16-15. Portland reclaimed the lead to go into the second quarter ahead 25-22.
    Aldridge's layup and free throw put the Blazers ahead 33-25. But the Rose Garden crowd stood when rookie Will Barton threw down Ronnie Price's fast-break lob to make it 38-25.
    Portland maintained a 51-45 advantage at the break.
    The Clippers came out with more urgency to start in the second half and Caron Butler's 3-pointer narrowed Portland's lead to 59-52. But Los Angeles really began to close the gap late in the third quarter when Crawford's 3-pointer pulled them within 80-74.
    Hill's 3-pointer and Matt Barnes' layup pulled the Clippers within 84-83 with 8:54 left in the game. Crawford hit a pair of free throws to give Los Angeles its first lead since the first quarter, but it was short-lived and Batum hit a 3-pointer for the Blazers.
    Portland clung to a narrow lead until Matt Barnes' tip-in, Griffin's hook and Crawford's short jumper gave the Clippers a 94-89 lead with 4:46 left.
    Spurs 108, Suns 99
    At San Antonio, Tony Parker had 31 points and the San Antonio Spurs earned their eighth consecutive win by shutting down the Phoenix Suns in the final quarter.
    Manu Ginobili added 20 points, Tiago Splitter had 13, and Boris Diaw finished with 11 for San Antonio (36-11), which has won 16 in a row at home.
    The Spurs were without Tim Duncan (sore knee) and coach Gregg Popovich (illness) for a third consecutive game.
    76ers 97, Knicks 80
    At Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday scored a career-high 35 points, Nick Young had 20 and the 76ers cruised to the victory.
    Evan Turner also added 20 points for the Sixers, who led from the start and beat the Knicks for the first time in four tries and second in eight games.
    Rockets 119, Nets 106
    At Houston, James Harden scored 29 points, Chandler Parsons added 16 points and a career-high 11 assists and the Rockets beat the Nets for the 12th straight time.
    Omer Asik had 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Rockets, who outrebounded the Nets 50-31 and outscored Brooklyn 60-24 in the paint.
    Cavaliers 99, Raptors 98
    At Toronto, Kyrie Irving made a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left to lift Cleveland to its third consecutive victory.
    Headed to his first All-Star game, Irving added to his credentials by calmly draining a pull-up jumper from the top of the arc to give him 32 points on the night. Marreese Speights had 17 for the Cavaliers, and Tristan Thompson scored 14.
    Wizards 86, Bulls 73
    At Washington, Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 16 rebounds, helping the Wizards to another victory.
    Nene scored 16 points and John Wall had 15 for Washington, which has won consecutive games for the second time this season. The Wizards have won five straight at home for the first time in five years, and seven of 10 overall.
    Jazz 114, Pacers 110, OT
    At Salt Lake City, Al Jefferson scored 25 points and Paul Millsap had 21, leading Utah to the overtime win.
    Utah scored the first six points in the extra session after blowing a 97-89 lead with 2:44 left in regulation. Gordon Hayward coughed up three turnovers to Indiana's George Hill in the final minute of the fourth.
    Bobcats 102, Timberwolves 101
    At Charlotte, N.C., Gerald Henderson made a 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left, helping Charlotte snap a 16-game home losing streak.
    Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 25 points and Ramon Sessions finished with 23 as the Bobcats won at home for the first time since Nov. 21. The home slide was two short of the NBA record held by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.
    Nuggets 121, Kings 93
    At Denver, Ty Lawson scored 26 points, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Denver used a strong first three quarters to rout Sacramento.
    Danilo Gallinari added 14 points for the Nuggets, who led 71-49 at intermission to set a season high for points in a half. They shot 62 percent in the first two quarters and had three players in double figures.
    Bucks 109, Warriors 102
    At Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings scored 20 points to push the Bucks to the win.
    Milwaukee's Monta Ellis also had 20 points against his former team, while Ersan Ilyasova added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Larry Sanders added 16 points and 11 boards.
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