Paul George scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied late to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 122-117 on Saturday near Orlando. Box Score
Landry Shamet added 19 points and hit two crucial free throws for the Clippers, who played without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard. Leonard didn’t play because the club holds him out of consecutive contests due to a lingering knee issue.
Leonard is expected to return Sunday when the Clippers meet the Brooklyn Nets.
Los Angeles Clippers (47-22) also played without guard Patrick Beverley (calf).
The loss dropped Portland (32-39) 1 1/2 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with three contests remaining.
Reggie Jackson scored 17 points and Marcus Morris Sr. added 15 and eight boards for Los Angeles. JaMychal Green chipped 13 points and eight rebounds, while Lou Williams finished with 12 points, all in the first quarter.
CJ McCollum had 29 points and eight assists for the Blazers while Damian Lillard and Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points apiece. Carmelo Anthony finished with 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 10 points, 13 boards and nine assists.
Guard Rodney McGruder’s 3-pointer with 26.5 seconds left gave the Clippers a 118-117 lead before Lillard missed two free throws with 18.6 seconds remaining. Green converted a pair of foul shots with six seconds left to put Los Angeles up by three.
After Lillard misfired on a 3-pointer, Shamet’s two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining clinched the win for the Clippers, who used mainly reserves down the stretch.
A 3-pointer by Morris sliced Portland’s lead to 111-110 with 4:21 left. The Blazers seized a five-point advantage but Los Angeles got a layup by Shamet and a three-point play by Patrick Patterson to knot the score at 115 with a minute remaining.
Lillard scored on a drive to put the Blazers up by two with 41.2 seconds left but it wouldn’t last.
Portland led 96-95 heading into the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media