Blazers come up short
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds, Chris Paul had 21 points and 14 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Portland Trail Blazers 121-120 Monday night to sweep the three-game season series.
J.J. Redick finished with 19 points, hitting all eight of his free throws — including three in the closing seconds to push Los Angeles' lead to four points.
Portland's Damian Lillard hit a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left for the final margin.
C.J. McCollum had 25 points and Lillard finished with 24 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, who lost their fourth straight.
The game got testy in the final minutes. Portland center Mason Plumlee was given a flagrant foul for elbowing Griffin in the face on layup. With 11 seconds left, Portland forward Evan Turner and Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan were ejected after a brief skirmish under the Clippers' basket.
Portland trailed 89-86 to start the fourth quarter and took the lead 1½ minutes in on a free throw by Ed Davis and two jumpers by Evan Turner.
However, the Clippers scored the next seven points on two free throws by Crawford and a layup and 3-pointer by Marreese Speights to take a 96-91 lead with about 9½ minutes to go.
The Blazers answered with a 10-0 run, including four points each by Allen Crabbe and Plumlee and the game was close the rest of the way.
The third quarter was another back-and-forth affair, both teams taking turns blowing modest leads until the Clippers finally took a three-point lead into the final period.
The Clippers acted like they were going to dominate early, jumping out to a 38-27 lead at the end of the first quarter. They connected on 14 of 22 field goals (63.6 percent), came up with four blocked shots and outscored Portland 14-4 to close the quarter.
But Portland charged back in the second, opening with a 13-2 run and then just kept rolling. The Blazers outscored the Clippers 33-18 in the second quarter to take a 60-56 lead at the half.
The Blazers outrebounded the Clippers 12-6 in the second quarter and found their range from outside, connecting on 14 of 20 shots (70 percent). Griffin scored all but seven of the Clippers' 18 points in the period.
Trail Blazers: F Al-Farouq Aminu (back contusion) was called a game-time decision, but started against the Clippers. ... Lillard scored a team-record 695 points in the Blazers first 25 games, eclipsing Clyde Drexler's previous mark of 681 in 1988.
Clippers: Backup PG Austin Rivers is undergoing NBA concussion protocol and missed Monday's contest. ... Monday marked the Clippers' 247th consecutive sellout at Staples Center. ... G Raymond Felton returned to the team after missing the past two games to attend his grandmother's funeral.
Trail Blazers: Host Oklahoma City on tonight.
Clippers: At Orlando on Wednesday night.