Paul's big game carries Clippers past Blazers
PORTLAND — Chris Paul had 21 points and 19 assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 109-98 victory Wednesday night over the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without guard CJ McCollum because of a "clerical error."
McCollum was mistakenly left off the team's active roster that is turned in before the game. Although the Blazers initially said that McCollum was active, he did not start. The team later announced he was inactive shortly before halftime.
The Clippers won their seventh straight game despite the absence of Blake Griffin, who has missed six games because of a partially torn left quadreiceps tendon.
DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double for the Clippers.
Damian Lillard had 20 points and nine assists, while Mason Plumlee had a season-high 19 points for the Blazers, who trailed by as many as 23 points but closed the gap in the fourth quarter.
Mo Harkless dunked to narrow Portland's deficit to 97-91 with 4:35 left. Paul Pierce's 3-pointer pulled the Clippers out front 101-91 and the Blazers couldn't catch up.
The confusion over McCollum, who is second on the team with an average of 21 points a game, marred the start of the game for the Blazers.
Allen Crabbe started in place of McCollum, who was dressed and on the bench at the start of the game. Shortly before the break, the Blazers announced that McCollum was inactive "due to a clerical error in the NBA's active list reporting."
The Clippers jumped out to an early 22-10 lead on Pierce's 3-pointer. They extended the lead to 35-23 on Jamal Crawford's 3-pointer and free throw. It was his 45th 4-point play, an ongoing NBA record.
Los Angeles led 63-40 at the half, the team's largest lead of the game.
CAVALIERS 121, WIZARDS 115: At Washington, LeBron James scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and Cleveland beat Washington for its fifth straight victory. Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, including a run of 10 straight that put the game away.
KNICKS 98, HEAT 90: At Miami, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and New York shot 56 percent to snap a streak of eight consecutive losses to Miami. Anthony made 9 of 12. Robin Lopez added a season-high 19 points for the Knicks.
THUNDER 112, GRIZZLIES 94: At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for Oklahoma City after missing the previous game with a sprained right big toe. Durant, who began the day as the NBA's No. 3 scorer, broke loose for 17 points in the second half on 7-for-8 shooting.
MAVERICKS 100, PELICANS 91: At New Orleans, Raymond Felton scored 22 points in a game Dallas chose to rest four starters. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle sat out Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Wesley Matthews after they each played 40-plus minutes Tuesday.
SPURS 123, JAZZ 98: At San Antonio, Tim Duncan scored a season-high 18 points and San Antonio had eight other players in double figures to beat Utah and remain unbeaten at home. The Spurs matched the best start in franchise history by winning their 21st straight home game to open the season.
PACERS 95, MAGIC 86: At Orlando, Fla., Paul George had 20 points and Monta Ellis scored nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter, leading Indiana over Orlando. George, who scored at least 31 points in his previous three games, shot 5 of 13 but led a second-quarter rally.
RAPTORS 91, NETS 74: At New York, Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Toronto handed Brooklyn its eighth straight home loss. Kyle Lowry had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He made all seven shots inside the arc but was 0 for 7 from 3-point range.
PISTONS 99, CELTICS 94: At Boston, Reggie Jackson scored 24 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 20 and Detroit beat Boston. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 22 points, scoring their final 15 over the last 7:24 after missing 14 of his first 15 shots.
SUNS 111, HORNETS 102: At Phoenix, Mirza Teletovic made five of the Suns' season-high 19 3-pointers as Phoenix ended a nine-game skid by beating Charlotte. Brandon Knight added 18 points and seven assists for the Suns.
NUGGETS 78, TIMBERWOLVES 74: At Minneapolis, Danilo Gallinari had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists to help Denver snap a six-game losing streak with a victory over Minnesota. Jusuf Nurkic had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets.