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Clippers cruise, send Blazers to 8th straight loss

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Angling for playoff position, the Los
Angeles Clippers didn't want to simply beat the Trail Blazers. They
wanted a rout.

And they got one.

Elton Brand scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the
Clippers beat Portland 97-83 Sunday night and extend the Blazers'
losing streak to eight games.

The Clippers, currently holding the fifth playoff spot in the
Western Conference, led by as many as 25 points for their eighth
win in 11 games. Corey Maggette added 19 points.

"We needed this win, so we couldn't take Portland lightly,"
Maggette said. "We just went out there and jumped on them early
and tried to bury them in some type of hole."

Travis Outlaw led the Blazers with 19 points in just under 16
minutes. He scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter.

The Blazers have not lost eight in a row since a 12-game streak
Feb. 4-27, 1986.

The Clippers were coming off a 116-101 victory over the
Washington Wizards on Saturday for the team's first 40-win season
since 1992-93. They need eight more wins to equal the
franchise-record 49 wins tallied by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.

Los Angeles had snapped a 12-game losing streak in Portland when
they beat the Blazers 100-94 on New Year's Day. The last time the
Clippers won consecutive games at the Rose Garden was Feb. 16, 1992
and Feb. 14, 1993.

They led the Blazers by as many as 18 points in the first half
and were up 48-35 at the half.

Brand's 16-foot-jumper in the third quarter made it 66-41. It
was Brand's 23rd game with 30 or more points.

"We tried to take them out early," Brand said. "This was a
must-win for us."

Portland, in last place in the Western Conference with 20 wins,
was coming off a 98-79 loss to the defending NBA champion San
Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

The team's leading scorer, Zach Randolph, was hampered by a sore
two on his right foot. He had just four points.

Randolph said he wasn't going to play earlier Sunday, but
"wanted to try to go out there and see what I could do." He did
not play in the final quarter.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan said it's unlikely the young Blazers
will catch any teams off-guard at this point in the season.

"Teams are sharp. They have to be. They have to get ready for
the playoffs," McMillan said.

The surprise of the night was the appearance by Blazers owner
Paul Allen, who announced at the NBA trade deadline that the team
was hemorrhaging money and needs a public partnership to remain
financially viable.

But some criticized Allen's plea considering the co-founder of
Microsoft ranks among the world's richest men.

Allen had not been to a game at the Rose Garden since going
public with the team's financial situation. On Sunday, he
unassumingly walked on to the court about a minute before the game,
spoke to a pair of team executives before taking his seat under the
basket closest to the Blazers' bench.

He spoke briefly to reporters at halftime, insisting that the
Blazers have one of the most "broken financial models in sports."
He has estimated that the team will lose $100 million over the next
three years.

Game notes
Blazers forward Darius Miles missed a second straight game
because the death of his grandfather in East St. Louis, Ill. ...
Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley missed his second straight game he
sprained his right ankle in Thursday's 95-85 loss to Memphis.