Trail Blazers 100, Clippers 82
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ It was Clifford Robinson’s turn to step up for the Portland Trail Blazers and the veteran forward didn’t disappoint anyone.
Robinson scored 23 points and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds in leading the Blazers to their ninth win in 11 games, 100-82 over the Los Angeles Clippers, who have lost five straight.
Robinson scored 10 points in the decisive third quarter and had 20 entering the fourth, but it was his defense on Loy Vaught (held to 8) and his rebounding that had him talking after the game.
``I don’t think I’m ever out there not trying to rebound, but a few just happened to bounce my way tonight,″ he said. ``On defense I just worked hard and tried to keep him guessing.″
But he did enjoy making 10 of his 13 field goal attempts.
``They were double-teaming on the block and it’s rare when I go down there and don’t get doubled, so I just tried to be aggressive and get to the basket,″ Robinson said. ``When I had the open jump shot, I just relaxed and shot it.″
The Blazers had runs of 9-0 in the second quarter and 12-0 in the third that settled a competitive game. The second-quarter streak led to a 10-point lead at halftime, and the second gave the Blazers a 21-point lead and the victory.
Arvydas Sabonis fueled the first run with four points, while Isaiah Rider, who was quiet most of the night, had seven points during a two-minute stretch.
``I wasn’t assertive in the first half,″ said Rider who finished with nine points after averaging 21.6 in his previous 11 games. ``I was trying to pass the ball ... do other things. But in the third we turned it up and I got some points.″
Sabonis finished with 17 points, while guard Kenny Anderson totaled 15 points and 12 assists.
The Clippers cut the lead to 10 when the Blazers failed to score during the first 4:17 of the fourth quarter, but Anderson sank a 3-pointer to start a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach.
The Clippers, who have lost 39 of their last 42 games in Portland, were led by Rodney Rogers’ 14. Their defense was porous throughout, but if they had shot better than 35.6 percent from the floor they might have made a game of it.
``Offensively we were so bad it made our defense look good,″ Coach Bill Fitch said. ``We’re ahead 34-32 and I put a couple of guys in to rest somebody and it changes your rotation. To rest somebody, it’s down the tubes for us.″
Fitch was despondent over his club’s offense, but he sounded hopeless when discussing the team’s defense.
``Against us, Ray Charles would have had a shooting percentage sitting at the piano,″ he said.
Notes: Kenny Anderson returned to Portland just before the game after flying home to New York, where his mother underwent a cancer operation Monday. ``It was hard, but my job is to play basketball. My mother told me `Just go and play hard and have fun and don’t worry about me.′ ″. ... The Blazers have climbed six games above .500 for the first time this season. ... Chris Dudley received a gash in his tongue in the second quarter that took three stiches to close, but he returned to action in the third quarter. ... The Clippers had won three consecutive road games befre losing five straight for the second time this season. ... Center Lorenzen Wright is averaging 9.5 points in his last 11 games as a starter, but at 6-foot-11 and 225 pounds he is easy prey on defense for the bigger centers of the league like Sabonis. Wright had 8 points and nine rebounds against the Blazers.