Clippers edge Portland 136-125 and are furthest from Play-In

Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, Norman Powell added 23 and the Los Angeles Clippers cemented their hopes of avoiding the play-in game with a 136-125 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Russell Westbrook scored 20 points for the Clippers, who have won four of their last six and are fifth in the Western Conference.

Wins by LA and Minnesota on Saturday ensured that the Clippers cannot finish lower than seventh. Their best hope of avoiding the play-in game, though, is to beat Phoenix on Sunday in what could be a preview of a first-round series.

Kevin Knox II had 30 points, Shaedon Sharpe 26 and Trendon Watford 24 for the Trail Blazers, who have lost three straight and eight of their last nine.

Portland led 70-64 at halftime before the Clippers went on a 14-2 run early in the third quarter to take control.

The Trail Blazers rallied to within 86-85 on a 3-pointer by Knox before the Clippers stopped it for good with a 23-7 run.

Leonard scored 13 points in the third quarter as the Clippers were 15 of 24 from the field, including eight 3-pointers.

Los Angeles’ biggest lead was 19 in the fourth quarter.

Trail Blazers: In the first half, Sharpe scored 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting; while Watford added 18 while going 7-for-9. … Shaquille Harrison had a career-high 11 assists for him.

Clippers: Ivica Zubac had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his 27th double-double, which is a new career-high in a season.

Trail Blazers: Host Golden State on Sunday in the season finale.

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Clippers: Travel to Phoenix on Sunday in what could be a first-round preview.

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