first_img Brand had 20 points and 11 rebounds and the Clippers beat the Trail Blazers 100-94. Brand, who is in his fifth season with Los Angeles, was more immediately concerned with the future than his team’s past in Portland. PORTLAND, Ore. – Elton Brand was slightly taken aback when told he had never won before at Portland’s Rose Garden as a Clipper. In fact, the Clippers hadn’t won up north since 1999. That streak ended Sunday night. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “We’re 1-0 for the new year and we’re not looking back,” he said. “We won tonight so that’s all we’re looking at.” The Clippers led by as many as 16 points in the first half, then withstood two spirited second-half Portland rallies. The Blazers’ final effort narrowed the gap to 89-87 on Theo Ratliff’s dunk with 2:15 left. After the teams traded baskets, Cuttino Mobley hit two free throws to make it 93-89 for the Clippers. Juan Dixon’s 13-foot jumper closed the Blazers in again, but Sam Cassell hit an 18-foot jumper with 30 seconds left and Mobley added a free throw. Dixon hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to make it 96-94 and put the crowd on its feet, before Chris Kaman made four straight free throws for the final margin. center_img The Clippers had lost 12 straight in Portland since an 89-83 win on April 11, 1999, and 26 of 29 since the start of the 1991-92 season. After getting off to a 10-5 start this November, the Clippers went 6-7 in December, wrapping up the month with a 111-92 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday. Cassell had 24 points against Boston before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle. He returned to start Sunday for the Clippers, scoring 22 points. Mobley had 23 points. “I’ve taken it up a notch, but having Cuttino and Sam have to be defended opens it up for me. When they hit like this it’s like, pick your poison,” Brand said. Dixon had 24 points for the Blazers, who were coming off Friday’s 93-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, which snapped a season-high three-game winning streak. The Blazers were 3 for 10 from the free-throw line, a franchise low. The previous low was four, which has happened on three previous occasions. “We’ve got to play better defense,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “We can’t keep digging holes for ourselves early in the game then try to fight our way out of it.” The Trail Blazers remained without point guard Sebastian Telfair, who has been out the past nine games with a right thumb sprain. Telfair was practicing with the team but did not play Sunday. Portland center Joel Przybilla returned to the team after missing two games with a sore right knee. The Clippers took off on a 16-2 run in the second quarter, going up 44-28 on Shaun Livingston’s reverse layup. The Clippers led 55-46 at halftime, but the Blazers opened the second half with a 12-4 run to narrow it to 59-58. Portland couldn’t sustain the rally to take over, and the Clippers rebuilt their lead to 82-68 early in the final quarter. “When it’s tough like that you’ve got to crack down on defense,” Blazers forward Ruben Patterson said. “We didn’t and they got some easy shots.” Randolph finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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