Clippers maintain perfect start


LOS ANGELES: Blake Griffin hit a three-pointer on the buzzer as the Los Angeles Clippers maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 104-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

The Clippers’ first road win of the 2017 campaign came after Griffin made a quick dribble and shot from just outside the arc to silence the crowd at Portland’s Moda Center.

It capped a superb night for Griffin, one of five Clippers players to break double-digits in a fine all-round offensive display.

Griffin finished with 25 points while Center DeAndre Jordan made 18 rebounds alongside seven points.

BLAZING BLAKE GRIFFIN Blake Griffin’s buzzer-beating trey lifts the Los Angeles Clippers to a 104-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday (Friday in Manila). The Clippers maintained their unbeaten start to the season. AFP PHOTO

“Honestly, I was just trying to get two (points),” Griffin said of his game-winning the final play.

“I was looking to see if we could get something easy or a quick layup. I was just trying to get a clean shot. But as time ticked away, I just didn’t think I could get to the rim in time. I just kind of took what was there.”

Blazers guard Damian Lillard led the home team’s scoring with 25 points, while guard CJ McCollum added 23, and forward Al-Farouq Aminu 19.

The Clippers moved to 4-0 with the win as the Blazers fell to 3-2.

Elsewhere Thursday, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford propelled the Boston Celtics to their third straight victory with a 96-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Horford scored 27 points while Irving chipped in with 24 as Boston improved to 3-2 in the Eastern Conference to climb to sixth place.

Together Horford and Irving went 21-for-32 from the floor but their efforts masked another poor display overall by the Celtics’ offense.

Milwaukee talisman Giannis Antetokounmpo meanwhile was held to fewer than 30 points for the first time this season, but still weighed in with 28 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points each as Milwaukee 45 percent at the Milwaukee Arena.

Horford spent much of his evening shadowing Antetokounmpo on the defensive end.

“He wills his way to the paint, and the big challenge for me was try to keep him in front and to stay between him and the basket and make him shoot over me,” Horford said.

“And I did the best that I could with that, just to make sure that I contested those shots near the basket. We had some mistakes there, but we felt like we did a good job on him.”



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