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Randolph, Blazers stop the revamped Clippers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Zach Randolph is learning to be more
effective by sharing the ball more. It's paying off for the
Portland Trail Blazers, who have won a season-high four in a row.

Randolph had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead
the Trail Blazers over the Los Angeles Clippers 109-99 Friday
night.

Randolph, the only player in the NBA averaging more than 25
points and 10 rebounds, excelled at moving the ball around and
passing out of double-teams, adding an aspect to his game that he's
lacked in the past.

"Guys are getting open looks and when they double-team me I've
got to make them pay," Randolph said.

Travis Outlaw scored 15 points and Jarrett Jack had 14 for the
Blazers.

Elton Brand had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers.
Shaun Livington added 16 points and 10 assists.

The Clippers lost despite the return of Corey Maggette (knee and
foot) and Sam Cassell (left foot). Los Angeles shot 59 percent for
the game but fell behind in the third quarter as Brand scored just
four points after halftime.

"We shoot 59 percent from the floor and lose. That's says it
all," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.

Ime Udoka had 13 points for the Blazers and Juan Dixon scored
12.

Maggette, who had missed the past two games, had 18 points in a
reserve role. Quinton Ross had 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting for the
Clippers.

The Blazers, who shot 51 percent from the field, missed their
season-high point total by one.

The Clippers shot 67.6 percent in the first half, but trailed
55-53 at the break.

Portland led 81-72 after Outlaw's layup beat the third quarter
horn. Los Angeles was still within nine after a free throw by Tim
Thomas, but Dixon responded by knocking down a 14-footer and Udoka
hit a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 102-88.

Jack gave the Blazers the biggest lead of the game at 16 with a
jumper with 3:45 to go.

"Travis Outlaw was really the difference tonight," Maggette
said. "He scored 15 points in 18 minutes. That's huge for them.
Juan Dixon hit some shots and really gave them a lift. We just
didn't play defense tonight and we need to improve that."

Randolph, who had microfracture knee surgery in March 2005, is
making the case for the All-Star team with the best season of his
career.

Blazer coach Nate McMillan said the improvement has come as
Randolph has fully bought into the system, playing better defense
and trusting his teammates.

"He seems to be having fun out there and not trying to carry
the team by himself," McMillan said.

Game notes
Doctors cleared Blazers rookie Brandon Roy (heel) to begin
practicing Sunday. He is expected to play Wednesday. ... The
Clippers are 1-8 on the road this season. ... Portland's win was
its first in six games against Los Angeles. ... Cassell played 11
minutes and had six points.