Clippers keep pressure on Blazers before falling in final minutes

  • Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, right, blocks the shot of Los Angeles Clippers center Boban Marjanovic, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, right, looks to pass the ball on Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

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  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Tobias Harris, right, dribbles the ball past Portland Trail Blazers forward Jake Layman, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, left, drives to the basket on Los Angeles Clippers center Boban Marjanovic during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Tobias Harris, left, drives to the basket past Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, left, drives to the basket on Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, hits a shot over Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, passes the ball as he runs into Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, left, grabs a loose ball as Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, center, dives in and forward Tobias Harris, right, watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic shoots over Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard Evan Turner, left, drives to the basket on Los Angeles Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers yells out to his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left front, drives to the basket on Los Angeles Clippers forward Mike Scott and forward Montrezl Harrell during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, is held back by his teammates as he has some words with referee Sean Wright, right, after fouling out during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, left, tries to get past Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard during the first half of Thursday’s game in Portland, Ore. Gilgeous-Alexander had 19 points in the 116-105 loss. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

  • Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Collins, right, shoots over Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Blazers won 116-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Even in the games when they fall short, the Clippers certainly are proving to be a tough out.

Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams each scored 20 for the Clippers on Thursday night and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a career-high 19, but it wasn’t enough to take down a surging Portland Trail Blazers team.

Damian Lillard had 25 points, CJ McCollum added 23 and the Blazers won their third straight game 116-105. Portland (9-3) has won six of seven.

The Blazers had struggled all night to separate from the Clippers, but pulled in front 93-83 on Zach Collins’ dunk with 9:42 left. Another dunk by Collins put Portland ahead 100-90 with 6:10 left.

The Clippers (6-5) closed to 107-101 on Gallinari’s jumper with 2:50 left, but Jusuf Nurkic answered for Portland with a layup and the Clippers could not get any closer down the stretch.

There were questions before the game about the availability of Clippers forward Tobias Harris because of illness. Coach Doc Rivers said Harris was a game-time decision, but he was ultimately in the starting lineup.

Harris, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, finished with 15 points and 11 boards for his fifth double-double this season.

The Clippers were without Avery Bradley for the second straight game because of a left ankle sprain, and Luc Mbah a Moute missed his seventh game with a sore left knee.

The Clippers missed Bradley’s perimeter defense against Lillard and McCollum.

Portland was without Maurice Harkless, who has missed seven straight games because of a sore left knee. Jake Layman has been starting in his place.

The Blazers led 37-28 after the first quarter, paced by McCollum’s 10 points. Portland never could extend the lead to double digits and led just 61-57 at the break. Gilgeous-Alexander and Montrezl Harrell each had 12 first-half points for the Clippers, while Lillard led all scorers with 14.

Al-Farouq Aminu hit a 3-pointer that gave Portland a 78-68 lead, its largest to that point, midway through the third quarter. The Clippers narrowed it again, closing to 81-77 on Harris’ driving floater.

Nurkic fouled out with 1:57 left, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds.

TIP-INS

Clippers: The team put out a statement of sympathy for victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night, and there was a moment of silence before the game. … The Clippers were coming off a 120-109 win at home over Minnesota.

Trail Blazers: Portland was coming off a 118-103 win at home over Milwaukee on Tuesday. … The Blazers have won the last four meetings between the teams. … Lillard did not shoot a free throw.

UP NEXT

The Clippers host the Bucks on Saturday.

The Trail Blazers host the Celtics on Sunday night.

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