In the final game before the NBA All-Star break, all-stars and those who should be all-stars were on display Wednesday night at Staples Center and put on quite a show as the Los Angeles Clippers (37-18) beat the Portland Trail Blazers (36-17), 122-117 in a game that saw 40 lead changes.
A sellout crowd of 19,175 - the 121st consecutive Clippers sellout - witnessed a first quarter game of horse between two of the Western Conference all-star power forwards. The Clippers Blake Griffin – voted a starter in this year’s All-Star Game - had 13 of his game high 36 points to go along with 10 rebounds - while Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge drained 12 of his team high 25 points.
The league’s top sixth man – Jamal Crawford – starting in place of the injured J.J. Redick had 13 in the first half and finished with 25. Center DeAndre Jordan had 14 points - including a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line - and a mortal six rebounds for him.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul – a reserve for the West All-Stars – took control of the end of the second quarter scoring four of his 20 points to send both teams into halftime tied at 61.
In his second game back from a separated right shoulder, Paul also had 12 assists and registered the 11,000th point of his career.
Paul and Griffin immediately left for the airport to fly to New Orleans as did Portland's Aldridge and guard Damian Lillard who had 21 in the loss. The All-Star Game is of course on Sunday night.
To hear post game comments from the Clippers, click on the video with this story.
The Clippers have now won three of four on the current five-game home stand and return to the Staples Center floor Tuesday night to take on the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.