LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul had 28 points and 11 assists as one of three Clippers with a double-double, leading Los Angeles to a 115-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the opener of their first-round playoff series Sunday night.
Blake Griffin had 19 points and 12 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan added 18 points and 12 rebounds and J.J. Redick had 17 points. The Clippers are 6-0 with Griffin in the lineup since he returned from a 45-game absence two weeks ago.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 21 points, while backcourt mate CJ McCollum was held to nine points. They combined to average 45.9 points this season, third-highest by any duo in the NBA. Against the Clippers, they shot a combined 10 of 28.
Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Led by Paul and Griffin, the Clippers were their flashy Lob City selves — dunking, scoring in transition and diving after loose balls. The Blazers never got untracked while shooting under 40 percent for much of the game. Their only lead was by one point in the second quarter of the first postseason meeting between the teams.
The Clippers shot 54 percent and owned a 48-34 edge in the paint.
The Clippers outscored Portland 30-13 over both halves to lead 65-48 in the third. Griffin slammed down two dunks over Mason Plumlee early in the quarter, the second on a two-handed jam with Plumlee hanging off Griffin’s right side that drew a foul.
Midway through the second quarter, Paul scored 12 of the Clippers’ last 15 points to give them a 50-42 lead at the break. Their defense held Portland to seven points over the final 5:50 of the quarter.
Griffin dominated in the first quarter during a 16-7 run that gave the Clippers an eight-point lead, their largest of the first half. He scored eight points, dunking one-handed after knocking down Lillard and getting fouled hard by Plumlee on his way to the basket.
There was a mass exodus with the Clippers leading by 18 with 3:14 left in the game.
BILLIONAIRE OWNERS CLUB
The series pits Clippers owner Steve Ballmer against Blazers owner Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft where Ballmer used to be CEO.
“I don’t know if an owner can bet, but I’m sure there’s a billion-dollar (wager) in there somewhere,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Blazers: Fell to 1-9 at Staples against the Clippers over the last five seasons. … Have lost Game 1 in seven of their last eight playoff appearances dating to the 2000 Western Conference finals. … Portland is 3-26 all-time in playoff series when losing Game 1. … Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations, worked for the Clippers from 2010-12 and was warmly greeted former colleagues before the game.
Clippers: Jordan made 8 of 18 free throws. … They were 0 for 2 from 3-point range in the first half, a season low for attempts in a half. … They improved to 8-9 all-time in Game 1 of playoff series.
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