PORTLAND (AP) — Paul George scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers handed the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers their third straight loss with a 102-90 victory Monday night.
Marcus Morris Jr. added 17 points and Luke Kennard, making his first start for the Clippers this season, finished with 15.READ MORE: Rams Limit Ticket Sales For NFC Title Game To SoCal Residents Only
Jusuf Nurkic had a season-high 31 points for Portland, and Norman Powell finished with a season-best 29.
It was a tight game throughout. Brandon Boston Jr. hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to give the Clippers an 82-76 lead, but CJ Elleby answered with a 3 for the Blazers to keep it close.
Portland pulled to 88-86 on a pair of free throws from Powell with just under five minutes to go. After Reggie Jackson’s driving layup, Nurkic sank a jumper.
George’s dunk put the Clippers up 92-88 with 2:30 left. He added a pull-up jumper, and the Blazers couldn’t get any closer. Jackson finished with 16 points.
The Clippers had lost four of their previous five games, including a 104-99 defeat at Sacramento on Saturday.
Portland, playing under first-year coach Chauncey Billups, has lost two straight games by discouraging margins. The Blazers fell at home to San Antonio 114-83 last Thursday before losing to Boston 145-117 on Saturday.
The Blazers were without All-Star guard Damian Lillard for the fourth game because of an abdomen injury. Backup point guard Anfernee Simons was out because of a sprained right ankle.
Star guard CJ McCollum was a game-time decision but did not play because of a rib contusion.READ MORE: LAUSD To Require Surgical-Grade Masks For Students Beginning Monday
The Clippers led for most of the opening half, but Nurkic hit a 3-pointer that tied the game at 36 and Portland pulled ahead on Powell’s pull-up jumper.
Dennis Smith Jr.’s 3-pointer gave the Blazers a 49-48 edge going into halftime. It was just Smith’s second start of the season.
George’s layup gave the Clippers a 77-72 lead late in the third quarter. Los Angeles was not able to stretch the lead to double digits.
Clippers: Billups was an assistant under Clippers coach Tyronn Lue last season. It was the fourth of four meetings with the Blazers this season.
Trail Blazers: Adding to Portland’s woes, Nurkic was called for two fouls before the midway point of the opening quarter and headed to the bench, where he stomped his feet in frustration. … Powell led all scorers at half with 18 points. Ben McLemore exited with left hip pain.
The Clippers host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
The Trail Blazers visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.MORE NEWS: One Hit, Killed By Train In Pomona
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