Paul leaves with broken hand, Blazers beat Clippers 98-84
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) As the Trail Blazers celebrated, the Clippers' locker room was somber.
Chris Paul has a broken hand, Blake Griffin is battling more trouble with his quad, and a series that was going Los Angeles' way is now all even.
Al-Farouq Aminu scored a career-high 30 points and Portland pulled away after Paul left with a broken bone in his right hand, beating the Clippers 98-84 on Monday night to tie their series at two games apiece.
''It changes a lot,'' Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. ''Their best player goes down. The guy who makes their offense go. It's unfortunate. You don't wish that on anybody, but they still have a really good team.''
Paul left in the third quarter. Then Griffin aggravated the left quad injury that had plagued him during the regular season. Both players will be re-evaluated on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Game 5 is set for Wednesday.
CJ McCollum added 19 points for the Blazers, while Mason Plumlee had 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
It was not clear how Paul was hurt, although his wrist appeared to bend back when he guarded Portland's Gerald Henderson on a layup. Paul had 16 points when he went to the bench clutching his hand. He kicked a seat cushion on the floor as he left for the locker room.
''Chris is taking this very hard,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''He's worked all year to get back to the playoffs, and for this to happen to him - he's a very emotional guy.''
Paul was averaging 26.3 points and 8.3 assists in the first three games of the series. He did not speak to reporters after the game.
Griffin had 17 points before leaving with under 6 minutes left. Rivers suggested he was 50-50 for Wednesday's game.
''I could feel it,'' Griffin said. ''Hopefully in the next 24-48 hours you turn a corner and feel better, so I'm not really concentrating on how it felt tonight. That's kind of expected after you tweak something.''
Jeff Green also had 17 off the bench for Los Angeles.
The Blazers are trying to become the first team to overcome a 2-0 deficit since Memphis came back against the Clippers in the first round in 2013. Since 2008, 53 of the last 55 teams to win the first two games of an NBA playoff series have ultimately prevailed.
The Clippers held Lillard to 12 points after he scored 32 in Portland's 96-88 Game 3 victory.
Aminu opened the scoring for the Blazers with pair of 3-pointers and a pair of free throws, and Portland jumped out to an early 20-12 lead despite Lillard's trouble seeing a clear shot.
The Clippers were cold except for Paul, who was 6 for 6 from the field in the first quarter for Los Angeles' first 12 points. J.J. Redick went 0 for 6 before he was subbed out.
Both teams struggled from the field for much of the half. But Allen Crabbe, who had missed his first 10 3-point attempts in the series, finally hit one to put Portland up 34-26 with just under 6 minutes to go before the break.
DeAndre Jordan shot airballs on two free throws late and the Clippers trailed 47-43 at the half. The teams shot a combined 34.5 percent in the half.
The Blazers pulled ahead 77-68 on Maurice Harkless' follow shot with 7:27 left and cruised from there.
Afterward, Rivers said he was not going to dwell on the injuries.
''My job as a coach is to figure out a way of getting us up and ready for Game 5,'' he said. ''There's nobody, probably in the league, that's going to replace Chris Paul so there's nobody clearly on our team that's going to do it. As a group everybody pitches in.''
Clippers: Redick has been bothered by a sore left heel that has limited him in practice. Rivers said he's not sure how much the injury has impacted Redick, because he hasn't asked him. ''I just don't like asking because I think at the end of the day, if you are out on the floor, you're healthy,'' Rivers said.
Trail Blazers: Aminu also had 10 rebounds. ... Portland's margin of victory was its largest in a playoff game since beating Dallas 125-103 in the first round in 2003.
The winner of the series will face the winner of the series between Golden State and Houston. The Warriors are up 3-1, but are expected to be without Stephen Curry for at least two weeks because of a sprained right MCL.
So both Portland's Terry Stotts and Rivers were asked before the game if they were looking ahead at the possibility of facing the Curry-less Warriors.
''It's pretty easy for me not to do the math,'' Rivers said. ''We have Damian Lillard and McCollum in front of us right now. ... It's a 2-1 series, I'm looking at this series. I don't look that far ahead. I think that would be a foolish thing to do.''