Griffin out but Clippers still go 6-0

PORTLAND • Blake Griffin is coming back some time soon from his quadriceps injury, but until he does, his team-mates are doing just fine.

Guard Chris Paul scored 21 points and dished out a season-high 19 assists on Wednesday, guiding the Los Angeles Clippers to a 109-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Centre.

Guard J.J. Redick scored 20 points, forward Paul Pierce added 17, and centre DeAndre Jordan contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who won their seventh consecutive game, the National Basketball Association's longest active streak.

Guard Damian Lillard collected 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, while centre Mason Plumlee had 19 points and nine boards for the Trail Blazers (15-23).

Portland were unable to play guard C.J. McCollum because of a pre-game clerical error in submitting players to be active and inactive. McCollum, who carries a 21-point scoring average, was listed as inactive, leaving him ineligible to play.

"I signed the paper without noticing it, it's my fault for not looking at it," said Portland coach Terry Stotts, who played Luis Montero in place of his team's second leading scorer.

"The rule is (the list is finalised) 60 minutes before tip-off. I thought we caught it in time but it had already been turned in."

The Clippers (23-13) are 6-0 since Griffin left their line-up with the injury. Coach Doc Rivers said he has no timetable for the return of his All-Star power forward, but he likes how the rest of his players have responded.

"We don't make a big deal about it," he said. "With 82 games, you're going to have injuries. No one is going to take over what Blake does, but as a group, we've really come together."

The Clippers built up a 23-point half-time lead, but then saw the Blazers cut the margin to six points twice late in the game.

"We just didn't play with energy as a group the first half," Plumlee said. "In the second half, we did... We aren't good enough to wait until half-time."

Los Angeles shot 50.6 per cent from the field, including 11-for-23 from three-point range.

"We're shooting the ball real well," Rivers said. "We're making shots. We're executing well. (Paul) is being more than a player. He is calling the right play at the right time without me calling it."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2016, with the headline 'Griffin out but Clippers still go 6-0'. Print Edition | Subscribe