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01/28/2013 1:37 AM EST
Clippers topple Trail Blazers 96-83
LA CLIPPERS 96, PORTLAND 83

By JOE RESNICK
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe combined to
help the Los Angeles Clippers end a four-game losing streak.



Griffin had 23 points and nine assists, helping the Clippers
beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-83 on Sunday night and get
even for a one-point loss to the Trail Blazers a day earlier.



"It's everybody's job on this team to step up, and that's what
I've tried to do," Griffin said. "Chris is a huge part of our
team and he directs the game from the point guard spot. He has
the ball in his hands during 85 percent of our offense. So when
he goes out, our whole dynamic changes. But other guys have
stepped up. Eric Bledsoe's done a great job."



Bledsoe had 10 points, five assists and five rebounds in his
seventh start, while Chris Paul missed his fourth straight game
and seventh in the past nine because of a bruised right kneecap.



Bledsoe played 36 minutes without committing a turnover.



"I just played more aggressive and didn't worry about it,"
Bledsoe said. "My last couple of games I was playing kind of
passive, but tonight I did a good job of just staying
aggressive. My teammates just told me to just stay in attack
mode, and everybody else on the team played great. At the end of
the day, turnovers are going to happen. You can't play every
game without having a turnover."



Griffin powered the Clippers to a 55-50 halftime lead with 15
points, including a fast break dunk off a long pass from DeAndre
Jordan just before intermission.



Griffin also had an assist on six of the team's first nine
baskets, including Jordan's alley-oop dunk and 3-pointers by
Caron Butler and Matt Barnes.



"Our lead assist guy is not around, so we have to run some more
things through Blake at the elbow and let him make plays for
us," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He draws so much attention,
but he's unselfish and he's making the good basketball plays and
making other players better. That's what All-Stars do in this
league."



Griffin didn't get his first rebound in this game until after
his sixth assist.



"Blake sharing the basketball made the game easier for
everybody," Del Negro said. "He was kind of like a `point
forward' for us tonight. We had 33 assists and shot the ball
well, which we haven't been doing. We were unselfish in a lot of
areas."



The Clippers have the third-best record in the NBA at 33-13 and
are 2 1/2 games behind San Antonio in the Western Conference.



Lamar Odom had eight points, 13 rebounds and six assists.



"We needed any kind of a win right now," Del Negro said. "We're
trying to accumulate as many as we can, and then we'll count
them up at the end of the year and see where we're at.



"We obviously executed a little bit better and got solid
production from several guys. I liked our intensity in the
second half, and we did a better job guarding the 3-pointers.
But more so, our activity defensively was the difference in the
game."



LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 21 points and 11
rebounds. It was Portland's seventh loss in nine games.



"It's hard to beat the same team two times in a row, especially
on back-to-back said," rookie Damian Lillard said. "They're a
really good team. Last night I think we did a lot better job
controlling their transition and not giving up as many easy
plays."



Portland never led in the second half on Sunday, falling behind
74-59 after a driving layup by Bledsoe with 3:15 left in the
third quarter.



Griffin didn't play after going to the bench with 10 seconds
left in the third quarter and the Clippers leading 78-62. But
they built the margin to as many as 19 points on a layup by
reserve forward Ronny Turiaf with 6:23 remaining.



"We didn't take care of the ball and we had turnovers in the
second half," Aldridge said. "I thought they had some easy
breakouts that opened the game up. Griffin did a good job of
finding guys and making good reads. But we didn't play as well
as we did last night, and some of the guys were a little tired."



NOTES: The Blazers finished with 28 assists on their 29 field
goals. ... Los Angeles outscored Portland 56-24 in the paint.
... The Clippers head out on a seven-game road trip. ... The
Clippers shot 51.2 percent, and are 14-1 when shooting at least
50 percent. ... Los Angeles was leading 46-40 when Butler's
fadeaway 3-pointer from in front of the Clippers' bench was
disallowed because of an offensive foul called against him with
4:31 remaining in the second quarter. Butler picked up his third
foul just 14 seconds later, but remained in the game until he
was removed by Del Negro with 3:16 left in the half.

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