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Clippers spank Blazers in first exhibition

An announced Moda Center crowd of 12,849 got an early look at an NBA Western Conference championship contender Monday night. At first glance, at least, it wasn't the Trail Blazers.

The Los Angeles Clippers held Portland to .359 shooting en route to an 89-81 victory in the first preseason game for both teams.

The Clippers, who have bolstered their bench and added a proven coach in Doc Rivers, got double-figure scoring from four starters. They were led by center DeAndre Jordan, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, and point guard Chris Paul, who totaled 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Los Angeles shot only .370 from the field, but that was better than Portland, which fired at a .359 clip and committed 23 turnovers -- 17 in the first half.

"It looked like a first exhibition game," said Terry Stotts, Portland's second-year coach. "I can't remember the last time I saw 17 turnovers in a half."

Portland went without veterans LaMarcus Aldridge (quad), Mo Williams (ankle), Earl Watson (calf) and Dorell Wright (given the night off).

The Clippers sat JJ Redick and Matt Barnes.

Portland opened the game making 2 of its first 13 shots and, with six turnovers, trailed 15-4 six minutes into the game.

The Blazers took a 34-33 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Clippers ended the half on a 22-9 run to go into intermission leading 55-42.

The Clippers, who led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter, scored only five points in the game's final eight minutes but still held on to win.

Stotts placed emphasis on defense during Portland's week-long training camp.

"In general, (the defense) was good," he said. "Almost half (the Clippers') shots were mid-range jump shots, which is what we're looking to accomplish. Overall, the defensive effort was good.

"But I can't say anybody had a great game for us. Everybody had areas to improve in."

Nicolas Batum led Portland in scoring with 12 points in 28 minutes. Damian Lillard (11) and Meyers Leonard (10) were the other Blazers scoring in double figures.

Other than Batum (4 for 8, including 2 for 3 from 3-point range), all of Portland's starters had poor shooting nights. Lillard was 3 for 10, Wesley Matthews 2 for 10, Robin Lopez 3 for 9 and Thomas Robinson -- subbing for Aldridge -- 1 for 5.

Lopez, who grabbed 10 rebounds in 21 minutes, said he felt out of sorts, especially early.

"Those first five minutes, it's something you can't quite simulate in practice," said the 7-footer, signed as a free agent during the offseason. "That first time you're thrown into the fire against a team, you have a new system, new plays, new defense, new teammates … it's always a sticky situation. I didn't respond as well as I should have."

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