PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gerald Wallace scored 20 points, making a key 3-pointer with two minutes left, and the Portland Trail Blazers avenged a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on New Year’s Day with a 105-97 victory on Tuesday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Blazers, who have not lost in six games at home this season.
Wallace’s 3-pointer put the Blazers ahead 99-90, but the Clippers narrowed it to 100-97 after Chris Paul made a layup and Chauncey Billups hit a jumper and a free throw with 25 seconds left. Portland made free throws the rest of the way to preserve the win.
Portland has just two losses, including one to the Clippers at the Staples Center on Jan. 1. Wallace was held scoreless in that game.
Caron Butler had 20 points for Los Angeles, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Paul was limited by foul trouble, after collecting his fourth early in the third quarter, and finished with 11 points.
Blake Griffin, who had just four points after the first half, finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, which was coming off a 92-86 victory at home over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
Wallace got off to a quick start with nine points in the first quarter. His jumper at the halfway point gave Portland a 19-11 lead, but the Clippers closed the gap and went up 26-24 after Mo Williams hit a pair of jumpers.
Paul and Aldridge each collected two early fouls and played limited minutes in the first half. Paul wound up with only 11 minutes after getting his third foul and was 0 for 3 from the field.
The Blazers took a 46-39 lead when Wesley Matthews robbed Griffin and lobbed the ball to Nicolas Batum for the jam. Portland was up 54-47 at the half.
The Blazers maintained the lead into the third quarter, but the Clippers kept it close. When Wallace hit a 3-pointer that put Portland ahead 67-60, Butler answered with one for the Clippers.
Griffin’s hook and Billups’ 3-pointer closed the Clippers within 82-80 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Blazers made four straight free throws and Billups missed a 3-point attempt. Raymond Felton, who was 3 for 26 from 3-point range this season, hit one with 5:54 left to extend Portland’s lead to 89-80.
The Blazers looked as if they had finally put it away with Wallace’s 3-pointer, but the Clippers rallied again.
At one point after a timeout when the fans started chanting his name, Wallace — known for a more stoic demeanor — broke into a smile.
Billups finished with 19 points for the Clippers, while Matthews added 18 for the Blazers.
Notes: Earlier Tuesday the Blazers recalled forward Luke Babbitt from the team’s D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. … The Oregonian newspaper reports that Wallace will not seek a player option for next season with the Blazers. … University of Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens attended the game.
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