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Jack, Blazers escape with victory vs. Clippers

Feb 28, 2008 - 7:26 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Jarrett Jack was the hero, and nearly the goat.

Jack missed a pair of late free throws but scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a seven-game road losing streak by fending off the Los Angeles Clippers, 82-80, on Wednesday.

The win also snapped an eight-game slide against the Clippers at Staples Center with the Blazers' last win here coming in a 97-93 triumph on December 18, 2002.

"We were kind of desperate for a win, we haven't been on the winning side of things for a while, especially on the road," Jack said. "We wanted to come in and play really aggressive, I thought we played with a sense of urgency."

Following an intentional foul, Jack went to the line with his team up by one but missed two free throws which could have given the Blazers a three-point cushion with 11 seconds remaining.

"I'm in that situation a lot, being one of the better free-throw shooters on the team," said Jack, who is a career 85 percent shooter from the line. "But both of them came out, and I was hoping that (the Clippers) weren't able to come up with a big shot."

Corey Maggette, who led the Clippers with 32 points, had two attempts to the win the game for Los Angeles, but his jumper in the lane bounced off the rim with eight seconds showing on the clock and a last second runner from beyond the 3-point line bounced off the backboard.

"We were fortunate tonight," Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

Both teams were without their star player.

Clippers center Chris Kaman was out for a third straight game with a sore lower back and Portland's Brandon Roy was sidelined for his second consecutive contest with a sprained right ankle.

The Blazers blew a big lead in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday and almost did the same against the Clippers in this one.

"We couldn't throw the ball in the ocean in the first half," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said of his team, which shot a season-low 24 percent (10-of-41) from the floor in the first half. "We had shots, we just didn't make them."

Down by 13 at the half, the once-cold Clippers opened the third quarter on a 16-3 run to tie the score, 45-45, on a pair of free throws by Tim Thomas, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Again trailing in the fourth, Cuttino Mobley hit just his second basket of the game - a 3-pointer which gave the Clippers a 76-75 lead with just over three minutes on the clock.

"We made a big bucket and got ourselves back in the game," Clippers forward Al Thornton said. "We should have won the game."

LaMarcus Aldridge hit a pair of free throws and a short hook shot put the Blazers back up 79-76 with 1:36 left.

"It was kind of ugly, but we'll take this win," said Blazers guard Martell Webster, who chipped in 15 points.

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