EditorsNote: fixes typo in first graph, corrects Harris’ free throws in 3rd graph,
Damian Lillard scored 22 of his 39 points in the third quarter, and backcourt mate CJ McCollum added 27 points as the visiting Portland Trail Blazers held on to earn a 131-127 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
Jusuf Nurkic contributed 20 points and seven assists for the Trail Blazers, who followed a victory over the NBA’s top team, the Toronto Raptors, on Friday with the win over the high-scoring Clippers.
Tobias Harris scored a career-high 39 points including 11 free throws for the Clippers, who lost for just the fourth time in 13 home games this season.
The Clippers have lost four consecutive games and seven of 11 since rallying for a victory at Portland on Nov. 25 that had put them atop the Western Conference standings.
The Trail Blazers started quickly Monday, making 13 of their first 16 shots from the field while opening a 15-point lead at two different times in the first quarter. The Clippers, though, went on a 32-16 run and ultimately took a 60-58 lead into halftime.
Lillard had just seven points in the first half on 3-of-7 shooting from the field before asserting himself in the third quarter. He then went 7 of 9 from the field in the third, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range.
Portland led 100-88 heading into the fourth quarter and was on top by as many as 18 points in the final quarter. The Clippers lost forward Montrezl Harrell with seven minutes remaining when the forward was ejected after elbowing Nurkic while battling for a rebound.
The Clippers cut the deficit to 127-126 with 18 seconds remaining after a 3-pointer from Danilo Gallinari, but the Trail Blazers put the game away at the free-throw line in the closing seconds.
The Trail Blazers shot 10 of 20 from 3-point range while Los Angeles was 10 of 27.
Lillard has scored at least 20 points in seven of his past eight games against the Clippers.
Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also had a career high in scoring for the Clippers, finishing with 24 points. Gallinari had 22 points for Los Angeles, and Harrell had 15 before he was ejected. Patrick Beverley scored 10 points and handed out 11 assists for the Clippers.
Maurice Harkless scored 13 points while Evan Turner added 10 for Portland, which has won five of its past six against the Clippers. Former Clipper Al-Farouq Aminu grabbed 10 rebounds and scored eight points for the Trail Blazers.
—Field Level Media