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 Blake, Trail Blazers top Clippers 116-87

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PostSubject: Blake, Trail Blazers top Clippers 116-87   Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:31 pm

PORTLAND, Ore.(AP) An injury-ravaged opponent
and a team eager to run proved to be a record-setting combination for
Portland's Steve Blake.Blake tied an NBA record for assists in
one quarter when he handed out 14 during the first period in the
Blazers' 116-87 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. San
Antonio's John Lucas set the record of 14 assists during the second
quarter against Denver on April 15, 1984."I took a peek and saw
I was getting up there, so I was happy guys kept making shots for me,''
Blake said. "When it comes to assists, your teammates have to make
shots, and they did that for me.''With Portland (35-20) running
against a Clippers' team down by six players due to injury, Blake took
advantage of the fast-paced start the Blazers created. During one
stretch during the first quarter, Blake had assists on nine consecutive
baskets, including five passes that led to dunks by LaMarcus Aldridge,
Nicolas Batum and Joel Przybilla."When I run the floor like that
and Blake passes you the ball like that, what can you do?'' said
Aldridge, who had a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds.Los
Angeles couldn't do much. The Clippers (13-43) were without starting
forwards Zach Randolph and Al Thornton. Randolph served the second game
of a two-game suspension for punching Phoenix' Louis Amundson on Feb.
17. Thornton, out with a sore right foot, missed his first game of the
season.The Clippers were also missing forward Marcus Camby (ear
infection), center Chris Kaman (left foot), forward Brian Skinner
(right foot) and guard Mike Taylor (right thumb). Beyond that, starting
guard Baron Davis played with a painful toe injury."Once they started running, it was hard for us to get back,'' Davis said. "We just got dominated out there.''Blake,
who scored six points and didn't make his first basket until midway
through the third quarter, had plenty to do with Portland's quick
offensive start. The Blazers hit 18 of 26 shots during the first
quarter on the way to a 38-16 lead.Blake said the first quarter
was "the best quarter I've ever played.'' He missed 13 of 14 games
before the All-Star break with a shoulder injury. He has started each
of Portland's three games since the break."He's been good ever
since he's been back,'' Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "Frankly, I
was surprised that Steve had 14 assists in the first quarter, but I
knew we had good ball movement and good rhythm and were kind of in a
zone.''Blake's sensational quarter overshadowed performances by
Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Aldridge hit 13 of 20 shots and scored 18 of
his 28 points during the first quarter. Roy was near a triple-double,
with 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists."He made everybody's job easy,'' Aldridge said of Blake. "All we had to do was finish.''With
the win, Portland pulled to within 1 1/2 games of first-place Denver in
the Northwest Division. The Blazers, who won their eighth consecutive
home game, are 3-0 since the All-Star break. Portland leaves town for a
three-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Houston.Guard Eric Gordon led Los Angeles with 21 points, while DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 12 rebounds.Notes:
Blake's 17 assists were one shy of his career high. ... Thornton was
the only Clippers player to start every game this season before sitting
out Sunday. Replacing Thornton was Steve Novak, who became the team's
17th player to start a game this season. ... Portland's Greg Oden sat
out his third game since the All-Star break because of a chipped
kneecap. He's day-to-day. ... At 13-43, only Sacramento (12-45) has a
worse record in the NBA than the Clippers. ... In three games since the
All-Star break, Los Angeles is giving up an average of 132 points a
game. Portland's 23-5 start at home is its best since the 1999-2000
season.

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