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Aldridge, Roy lead Blazers over lowly Clippers

Mar 22, 2008 - 5:57 AM PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- When LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy bring their "A" game, the Portland Trail Blazers are tough to get past.

Aldridge collected 22 points and 12 rebounds and Roy poured in 21 for the Trail Blazers in Friday's 107-102 victory over the lowly Los Angeles Clippers.

Portland improved to 11-3 when the young duo of Aldridge and Roy are able to reach the magical 20-point plateau.

"We're getting better at that," Roy said. "I think early in the year we were trying to find our rhythm. (Aldridge) would play good, but I would play bad. We were switching up. I think now we are starting to get on the same page and we are starting to play a little more inside-out, and I think that's helping us."

"I've been making more of an effort to try and get deeper in the post and try to put myself in good position to score," Aldridge said. "Brandon has been fairly consistent all year, so I feel like now we have been complimenting each other a little more."

With the win, Portland (36-33) moved to within 6 1/2 games the Golden State Warriors (42-25) for the eighth and final spot in the loaded Western Conference postseason race.

"We're trying to prepare ourselves mentally and go out there with the focus that we've got to win every game," Roy said. "The (West) is really tough. We are going to have to win a lot of games in April against a lot of really good teams."

Steve Blake's 22-footer to open the third quarter sparked an impressive 20-8 burst which was capped by Martell Webster's 3-pointer at the 6:22 mark.

Portland shot a sizzling 65 percent (13-of-20) in the period en route to holding a 30-18 advantage.

"I think in the third quarter we came out and just took control of the game," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Defensively, we got stops, offensively we scored (on 12 straight possessions). I think Blake also played a really solid game. He came out in the second half and started to knock down his shots."

"We came out after halftime with a lot of energy, executed well and made some shots," said Blake, who had 15 points and a season-high 11 assists. "That's really what carried us for the whole game."

But the Clippers drew within 92-87 in the fourth when Smush Parker found a slicing Josh Powell for a tough layup over Aldridge with 6:07 remaining.

However, the Blazers were able to hold off the late surge as Aldridge hit a 21-foot jumper and added a reverse layup to make it 99-91 with 3:35 left.

Webster's 3-pointer from the left wing sealed the victory with 1:29 to go.

"We knew they were going to come out here for the win and so we had to be able to make the plays down the stretch," said Aldridge, who has scored at least 20 points in his past eight games.

Cuttino Mobley had 24 points off the bench and Powell chipped in 21 for the Clippers, who have dropped six straight games.

"They got out in that third quarter and had guys like Blake hit some open shots," Mobley said. "Of course the young fellows Roy and Aldridge, I love their game. They're smart and they know how to play. Unfortunately, we don't have everybody, and we have to do what we have to do."

Already shorthanded, the Clippers were without leading-scorer Corey Maggette (shoulder) and lost Tim Thomas in the first period with a stomach virus.

"We competed," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We started out shorthanded and got more shorthanded in the first quarter when Thomas got sick and couldn't come back. We had a lot of guys give good effort."

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    Clippers 87, Trail Blazers 92  4th - 5:53Mar 22 12:01 AM

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