Collison shines for Clippers

Despite a 17-point outburst in the fourth quarter from Darren Collison, the Clippers couldn’t rally and fell, 94-84, to Portland Friday night in their Staples Center preseason opener.
Collison finished with 31 points and had six assists and two steals for the Clippers (3-2), who will play Denver Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Playing without J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Maalik Wayns and Willie Green, Collison took advantage of the 34 minutes Coach Doc Rivers gave him and made 8 of 16 shots from the field and 15 of 16 from the free-throw line.
“To be honest, all credit goes to Doc,” Collison said. “He’s been on me since day one as far as letting me play my game. It’s been a very very long time since a coach allowed me to play my game and play to my instincts.”
Blake Griffin shrugged off a tender ankle, started and had 18 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. Chris Paul had seven points and three assists, making only 2 of 11 shots.
“I hate sitting out,” Griffin said. “Preseason, whatever, I don’t even like sitting out practice. I talked to Doc this morning after shootaround, he was in a good mood. I was trying to pick my time the last three days. It felt fine. It’s an ankle, so it’s not really bad.
“I’m really just trying to get my rhythm down. It’s not really about proving anything or anything like that. I feel like my rhythm’s been a little off since the start. That’s the main thing I wanted to work on.”

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