The Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers met at the Staples Center on Sunday night in the fourth-ever meeting between the two teams on New Year's Day. The Clippers had won all three of those previous holiday meetings and as it turned out, Sunday night was no different. After taking big leads early in the game, the Clippers had to fight tooth and nail to hang onto their lead late and walk away with the 93-88 win.
The final two minutes of play saw a flurry of action as the Trail Blazers pulled within four points of the Clippers lead. Jamal Crawford drew a foul and went to the line with Portland down by five with just under 2:00 left on the clock. Thankfully, Crawford had his first free throw of the young season to bring the Blazers within 80-76. Caron Butler would miss two free throws a short time later, but the Clips got the ball back after an unsuccessful three-point attempt by the Blazers. The Clippers missed a three of their own and the Blazers took the ball and a timeout with just 33 seconds left in the game and down four points. LaMarcus Aldridge sunk a close jumper to bring the Blazers within two with enough time to get the ball back.The Clippers got the ball to Chris Paul, who drove for a layup and got a lucky bounce to put LA back up 92-88 with 9.3 seconds left and no timeouts left for the Blazers. If that wasn't enough, Paul opted to guard the red-hot Crawford and forced a jump ball with four seconds left. The Clippers took control and drew a foul with 2.6 left on the clock. The performance by Paul drew a rousing "CP3" chant from the home crowd at the Staples Center. A made free throw later and time expired, giving the Clippers their first home win with a 93-88 final score.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers offense with a double-double. Griffin scored 20 points and picked up 10 rebounds. Caron Butler scored 19 points and had five rebounds. DeAndre Jordan just missed out on a double-double with 11 rebounds and nine points. Paul finished the game with 17 points and seven assists.
On the Portland side, Jamal Crawford led all scorers with 23 points, also grabbing eight rebounds. Aldridge racked up 19 points and had nine rebounds.