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Clippers don’t have the energy to keep up with CJ McCollum, Blazers late

Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac, left, goes to basket as Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac, right, blocks a shot by Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Sound The gallery will resume in seconds Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, front, defends against Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Portland Trail Blazers’ Al-Farouq Aminu, left, and Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac compete for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, left, drives against Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic, left, goes to basket and is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Portland Trail Blazers’ Jake Layman goes to basket while defended by Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic, left, goes to basket while defended by Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Portland Trail Blazers’ Enes Kanter reacts after taking an elbow during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against Los Angeles Clippers, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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LOS ANGELES — Gassed and playing without their 19-points-per-game scorer, Danilo Gallinari, the Clippers couldn’t keep up with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, falling 125-104 at Staples Center.
The Blazers (41-26) and their warm-warmer-scalding shooting guard, CJ McCollum, put away the game in the fourth quarter, when McCollum scored 23 of his game-high 35 points. Portland snapped the Clippers’ five-game winning streak and nudged them out of sixth place and into seventh in the Western Conference standings with 13 games left in the regular season.
McCollum was a one-man Clippers wrecking crew in the final quarter, when the Blazers broke things open with a 21-5 run. Portland led 95-94 with 8:50 left before going on a 15-3 spurt that included 13 straight points by McCollum, including three 3-pointers. He hit eight of his nine shots in the fourth, helping the Blazers to an insurmountable 110-97 lead with 5:40 to go and picking it up substantially after missing his first seven shots to start the game.
The 27-year-old shooting guard finished 12 for 21 from the field.
Meanwhile, the Clippers, who missed Gallinari, said to be out resting on the second half of the back-to-back games, couldn’t keep pace. After they shot 61.6 percent from the field and scored 140 points in an emotional victory over the Celtics on Monday, the Clippers (39-30) connected on 40 percent (38 of 95) of their shots Tuesday.
As his team’s fortitude was tested, Montrezl Harrell provided as many of the answers as he could in the third quarter, when he went on the attack for 10 points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots to keep the margin close. Harris helped the Clippers trim Portland’s seven-point lead to one entering the final quarter.
Harrell finished with a team-high 22 points (three of which came on just his fourth career basket from beyond the arc) and 11 rebounds, including a career-high eight offensive boards.
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Ivica Zubac – one of five Clippers to score in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting – also established a career high with nine offensive rebounds.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered the game averaging 18.3 points in three games against Portland, finished with 15 on Tuesday. Lou Williams added 18 points and Landry Shamet had 11.
Damian Lillard (12 assists) and Jusuf Nurkic (12 rebounds) both scored 20 for Portland.
The night after committing 20 turnovers in victory, the Clippers turned the ball over 12 times in defeat.
The Clippers led 52-50 at the half. Nine Clippers and 10 Blazers scored in the first half, none of them reaching double figures by halftime, at which point neither team was shooting better than 40 percent.
More to come on this story.

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